Bed Rail Safety

Many state assisted living regulations allow for the use of bed rails–usually half rails–under certain circumstances. However, while bed rails can help to improve the resident’s ability to move, transfer, and reposition, they aren’t without hazards. Specifically, the FDA reported over 800 incidents of persons being caught, trapped, entangles or strangled by bed rails between 1985 and 2009.

In response to this data the FDA published the following bed rail safety recommendations:

When bed rails are used, perform an on-going assessment of the patient’s physical and mental status; closely monitor high-risk patients. Consider the following:

  • Lower one or more sections of the bed rail, such as the foot rail.
  • Use a proper size mattress or mattress with raised foam edges to prevent patients from being trapped between the mattress and rail.
  • Reduce the gaps between the mattress and side rails.

Click here to learn more, including ideas to reduce the need for bed rails.

2 Responses to “Bed Rail Safety”

  1. Before installing a half-rail on a resident’s bed for her safety, do I need a Physician’s order?

  2. Hello Esther. Yes, you should have a physician’s order for the half rail. Keep in mind it should only be used for mobility and repositioning. Not to hold him/her in bed.

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