At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Hospital bed rails are barriers, usually metal, that attach to both sides of a bed to prevent a patient from falling out of bed. These are an important means of providing safety and security for patients that are confined to a bed for any length of time. Patients are not always able to think clearly, due to accident, illness, or the drugs being used to treat a medical condition. The use of hospital bed rails is a means of providing a physical barrier that keeps patients from accidentally falling out of bed. Safety bed rails are standard on most types of hospital beds.
In some cases the use of short hospital bed rails is appropriate. Such rails provide a means of preventing accidental falls, but they don’t extend the length of the whole bed. These can be as short as 1 foot (30.48 cm) in length, but may be longer. Some such rails are adjustable in length, to suit the changing needs of the patient.
Short or adjustable length hospital bed rails are normally used for home care, to create a safe environment while still allowing the patient some freedom. This type of safety railing often installs by supports that slide between the mattress and the box springs. The patient can easily sit up next to the railing and use it as a support for getting in and out of bed. While not appropriate for patients with a high degree of need, in many cases a short rail is all that is necessary.
Typically, hospital bed rails are made of sturdy, adjustable metal bars that are attached directly to the hospital bed frame. Most such railings are adjustable and can be raised or lowered. This allows the patient to be confined to the bed when necessary, but makes it easy to move the railing out of the way to better care for the patient. Usually the nurse, orderly or another person on the outside of the bed can easily move the hospital bed rails, but it is very difficult, if not impossible, for the person in the bed to do so.
Hospital bed rails are often fitted with panels containing call buttons and bed adjustment controls, so the patient can always find them. This often helps the patient to feel more in control of a difficult situation. Having controls where they cannot be lost or fall to the floor also saves time for nurses and other caregivers.