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Hospital Bed Rails

Hospital bed rails are sometimes needed for patients during their stay in a health care facility. Most hospital beds have been designed so that this accessory can be easily fitted; most of the modern electric beds are designed with sides that function in the same way as hospital bed rails. It is normal for a lot of patients to feel a bit threatened when they see these rails but for most patients it provides reassurance. A lot of hospitals will avoid using these unless they really feel it is necessary.

Why Are Hospital Bed Rails Required?

Hospital bed rails may be required for any number of reasons. Here are just some of the most commonly cited reasons why they might be put in place;
  • The patient is confused and at risk of falling out of the bed. This confusion might be due to dementia, a head injury, a reaction to a drug, or any number of other possible reasons.
  • The patient has a weakness on one side of the body and can use the rails to turn.
  • If the patient has a balance problem then it is normal for them to have hospital bed rails in place.
  • Any patient who has been assessed as having a risk of falls will normally have these bed rails.
  • Some patients have the side rails because they request them; it gives them a sense of added security.
As you can see there are many possible reasons why hospital rails might be required. It is always recommended that they are only used if there is a reason to do so. A lot of beds will have them attached but there is no requirement to put them up unless needed.

Hospital Bed Rails and Patient Autonomy

The main reason why people get concerned about hospital bed rails is in regards to patient autonomy. It is sometimes argued that it is like looking the patient up without a crime. In some instances these rails will be put in place without the patient’s consent – although this is usually when they are confused and unable to provide consent. The reality is that some patients are at a huge risk of further injury if these bed rails are not in place. Consent should always be obtained wherever possible, but sometimes the patient just won’t be able to give it – an alternative here is to speak to their next of kin.

Some Final Thoughts on Hospital Bed Rails

There will always be occasions when hospital bed rails will be required for certain patients in hospital. Some people just do not like these and their autonomy must be respected; consent should always be obtained wherever possible. Sometimes it will be necessary to use these hospital bed rails even though the patient is confused and the rails increase their fear and agitation. The alternative of not using them would be too risky; unless the hospital or family can afford to have somebody constantly in attendance with the patient.

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