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What Is a Bed Railing?

A bed railing is a safety device that’s installed along one or both sides of a bed to prevent falls. They also provide stability and support when a person changes positions in bed or moves in or out of the bed. Sometimes referred to as safety rails, support rails or bed handles, bed railings are often used in medical settings, such as hospitals and skilled nursing centers. Bed railings are also available for purchase through mobility and medical supply stores for use in home settings. 

Types of Bed Railings

The most common types of bed railings are full-length and half-length traditional rails, bed handles, swing-down bed rails and adjustable bed steps with rails.

  • Full-length and half-length traditional rails: These bed rails are commonly utilized in medical settings and permanently attached to beds. Featuring horizontal crossbars, traditional rails provide excellent support when changing positions and moving in and out of bed, and the rails have an open design that prevents individuals with hindered mobility from becoming trapped between the bars.
  • Bed handles: Bed handles provide stable support without taking up too much space. These handles are usually mounted near the head of the bed on one side, and they’re generally recommended for mobile individuals who require a small amount of support when getting in and out of bed. Bed handles are simple to install and are often utilized in home settings. 
  • Swing-down bed rails: Swing-down bed railings are used in home-care and medical settings. These railings are mounted directly onto bed frames, but they’re completely adjustable and ‘swing out and down’ to accommodate caregivers and medical staff when they need close access to patients.
  • Bed steps with rails: Bed steps with rails are commonly utilized to help individuals safely transfer in and out of high stationary beds. The steps are adjustable to cater to individuals of different heights, and this type of bed railing is found in home, assisted living and medical settings.

Who Needs Bed Railings

Bed railings are utilized for many reasons, most often to help ensure safety in both home and medical environments. Bed rails can provide an extra level of support for individuals with dementia or Alzheimer’s who wake up and move around during the night. Patients recovering from surgical procedures and/or taking strong medications may need a bed railing to create a safe barrier between the bed and the floor throughout their recovery process.

Bed railings and bed handles serve as helpful guides for individuals who are visually impaired when getting up in the middle of the night or adjusting their sleeping or sitting positions. Railings, handles and steps may also be recommended for people with limited mobility due to recent surgeries, injuries and the natural aging process, as these devices provide anchoring and support both in and out of the bed.