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What Can I Use Instead of a Bed Rail?

Bed rails can be used as transfer aids and to help prevent falls from bed. While these devices are popular, they may not be ideal for everyone. There are a number of alternatives to bed rails, including removable bolsters, trapeze bars and concave mattresses. 

Bedside Transfer Aids

Ceiling or Frame-Mounted Trapeze Bar

Widely used in hospitals and rehab facilities, a bed trapeze bar is a transfer aid that’s suspended over the bed. It provides seniors with a sturdy handle that’s largely used for repositioning while in bed, but it can also serve as an assistive device during transfers.

Vertical Transfer Poles

Vertical transfer poles are pressure-fit, floor-to-ceiling assistive devices that can be installed in most residential bedrooms. Also known as SuperPoles, standing poles or tension-mounted poles, these nonpermanent aids can accommodate users weighing up to 450 pounds, and a variety of horizontal attachments such as grab bars are available. 

Bed Ladders

Bed ladders are low-cost mobility aids designed to help the user reposition themselves in bed and to sit up from a prone position. These simple devices consist of multiple foam-padded grips fastened to durable nylon webbing that secures to the foot of the bed frame. 

Fall Prevention Devices

Bed Bumpers and Wedges

Also known as bolsters, bed bumpers and wedges are long pieces of firm, fabric-covered foam placed along the edge of the mattress. These devices are designed to help keep seniors safely in bed by creating a barrier that’s not easy to roll over.

Some bolsters fasten directly to the mattress using a hook-and-loop fabric, while others are simply laid on top of the mattress and secured with a fitted sheet. 

Concave Mattresses

Concave mattresses are specially designed medical mattresses that feature permanently raised edges. As with bolsters, these edges are made from firm foam, and concave mattresses come in a variety of styles and edge heights. 

Unlike with bed bumpers, the raised edge of a concave mattress can’t be removed, which can make transfers in and out of bed challenging. 

Posey Bed

A Posey Enclosure Bed is a restricted medical device that must be prescribed by a physician, and can only be used in licensed health care facilities. This enclosed bed system combines a traditional hospital bed with a vented nylon canopy that fully encases the mattress.

Posey Beds are designed for individuals who are at a high risk of severe injury if they should fall from bed or attempt to exit their bed without assistance.