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Your guide to bed rails

Your guide to bed rails

A bed rail can be an invaluable piece of equipment to those facing mobility issues through disability or as a symptom of age.


What is the difference between a bed rail and a bed guard?

Although they may sound similar, a bed rail and a bed guard are two different types of bedroom equipment with very specific purposes.

  • Bed guards
    Sometimes also known as cot sides, these are used to help keep you in bed if you're at risk of falling out during the night. They aren't suitable to help you get out of bed as they are designed to keep you in bed and so would be in the way
  • Bed rails
    Sometimes also known as bed sticks or bed grab handles, these are designed to help you get out of bed, giving you leverage while sitting up and standing and support while getting into bed.
    Bed rails should not be used to stop you from falling out of bed. It may prompt you that you have hit the edge of the bed, but it's not designed to stop you from falling out
Why have a bed rail?

Why have a bed rail?

Not only is a bed rail cost effective, it also contributes significantly to making it easier and safer to get into and out of bed – especially if you need to support yourself when standing up from or sitting down in a wheelchair. The great thing about bed rails is that they come in a variety of styles to suit individual needs and can be fixed to the side of your bed in different ways:

  • Some rest between the base of the bed and the mattress 
  • Some attach to the frame of the bed 
  • Some are secured under the base of the bed 

In addition to bed rails, you may also want to explore options to make lying in bed more comfortable, such as positioning wedges or pillows. These can be particularly useful for anyone spending a large amount of time in bed, whether due to a health condition or recovering from an operation.

Bed rails can help you sit up from a lying position, stand up from the side of the bed and help you change position during the night, as well as offer you reliable support.

Why would you need to use a bed rail?

A bed rail can be a really handy piece of kit, particularly if you need extra help when getting in and out of bed or standing up due to weaker limbs or difficulties with balance.

A bed rail can offer additional support and give you the confidence to continue living independently. You may choose to use a bed rail if you find it difficult to sit up from a lying position or stand up from the side of the bed.

You may also choose to use a bed rail if:

  • You’re over stretching to reach alternative, inadequate support when getting in or out of bed e.g. a door, bedside furniture or a radiator! All these options are capable of injuring you through unexpected movement or temperature changes, meaning they aren't safe or secure enough to support you.
  • You feel unsteady or breathless when getting in or out of bed. A bed rail can provide you with reliable support, enabling you to regain your breath or balance, before going about your daily routine.
  • You find it difficult to change position during the night. If you wake up needing a glass of water or the toilet but find it challenging to roll your body into a position that makes this possible, a bed rail can give you the leverage needed to pull yourself into a more suitable position.

Shop all bed rails

Bed rails to consider
NRS EasyFit Plus+ Bed Rail

The NRS EasyFit Plus+ Bed Rail is a fantastic option to consider. This versatile bed rail not only offers strong, stable support while getting in and out of bed, but can also be used to help with repositioning when you're in bed too.

Things to note:

  • Fits most bed types, including slatted bedframes, solid base divans and sprung divans
  • Fits on the floor, so no mattress lifting is required
  • It clamps to the bed - no straps required - and is easy to fit
  • Not suitable for electrically height adjustable beds
  • Winner of THIIS Retail Product of the Year 2019
    NRS EasyFit Plus+ Bed Rail
    NRS Folding Easy Fit Bed Rail

    This useful bed rail is suitable for use with rigid base and sprung base divan beds. It can also be used with slatted bed frames. 

    Things to note:

    • Supports you getting in and out of bed
    • Slides between your bed base and mattress
    • Folds flat for easy transport
    • Easy and comfortable to grip
      NRS Folding Easy Fit Bed Rail
      NRS 2-in-1 Bed Rail

      The NRS 2-in-1 Bed Rail is a great option to help you get into and out of bed every day, offering you stable support and an ergonomic handle.

      Things to note:

      • Secured with easy to fit straps
      • Suitable for slatted and hard top divans or frame beds
      • Slim base design makes it easy to slide
      • Not suitable for sprung divan base beds, framed beds with loose slats or electrically profiling beds
        NRS 2-in-1 Bed Rail
        All bed rails attach to the side of your bed, but in different ways. Make sure you take a look at which one would be best for your individual needs and fit to your bed.

        Things to consider

        Do you have a slatted, divan or multi position (profiling) bed? Not all rails will be suitable for every bed type so it is important to check that your chosen bed rail is compatible with your style of bed base. Beds that have a sprung base may not be suitable for bed rails that rest on the base itself, due to the 'give' that can be experienced as you sit on the edge of the bed when getting in or out. Alternatives such as the NRS EasyFit Plus+ Bed Rail or NRS Rise Easy are potentially more suitable.

        It is very important you choose a bed rail which can accommodate your body weight. Maximum user weights will vary between rails and should not be exceeded. If you're at the upper end of the weight limit for the bed rail, consider looking for one with a higher weight limit to allow more flexibility should your weight fluctuate.

        Not all bed rails are suitable for every bed type. Be sure to double check that the bed rail you want is right for your bed. You should also make sure that it is fitted correctly and that you check it regularly as bed rails can move over time.

        Safety information

        There are important safety measures to take when using a bed rail, consider the below carefully if you're thinking about purchasing one for yourself or a loved one.

        • Make sure the bed rail is installed a minimum of 318mm away from any solid object, such as a headboard, wall or piece of solid furniture. This is to help minimise the risk of entrapment

        • Follow the instructions carefully when fixing the bed rail to the bed and check it regularly to make sure it's still securely attached
        • Don't exceed the maximum user weight on the bed rail - if you're close to the maximum limit, try to find one with a higher limit to give a little leeway and allow for weight fluctuation. You can find the weight limit in the product description or user manual
        • Don't assume the bed rail will be fine with any bed type. They are designed to be used with specific bed types and must only be used with these e.g. a divan bed

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        Why buy from us

        We’ve been working for over 70 years to help people maintain their independence for longer through daily living aids and support from our team of Occupational Therapists. As members of the British Healthcare Trades Association, we abide by a strict code of practice and will never force you to buy a product you don’t need.

        If you need any help in deciding if a product is right for you and your unique mobility needs, please contact our Expert Advice Service.

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