Bed rails seem to decrease the number of falls by residents overall. That said, they can also increase the severity of falls when they do occur.
When it comes to fall prevention, using bed rails can often be counterproductive.
Before installing sidebars, make sure to implement a few principles and adapt to the reality of the patient or resident.
- If the patient / resident requests and is not able to get out of bed unassisted, bars are not considered a restraining measure
- For unfit patients, staff should act in the best interest of the patient
- The use of bars cannot be a substitute for qualitative care and cannot be the only action in fall prevention
It is also interesting to consider that the majority of falls take place during transfers. In this sense, bed rails can represent an additional risk.
Testimonial from Jérôme Laurent-Michel, nurse and clinical advisor for MintT
“In the oncology department, fifteen years ago, the night was a succession of chemotherapy, hydrations and contact with doctors. There was intense activity and I was alone. I remember walking into that room where the person got stuck in the bars of the bed. Face down and legs tangled. As a caregiver, we have all had a similar experience, and that same feeling of helplessness”.
In some cases, the use of bed rails is prohibited
Warning! Do not use bed rails if:
- The person is mobile and independent
- The person is able to make the decision and refuses the bed rails
- The person is very confused, restless and mobile enough to move over the bed rails
The use of bed rails is akin to a restraining practice.
To learn more about this delicate practice: