Apart from falls in the bathroom, falling from the bed is also common amongst older persons. The consequences are just as daunting as injuries can be severe. Falling off the bed may also create a trauma for both the older person and caregiver, which may affect sleep. Basically there are 2 types of fall scenarios. The first type of falls is when the older person accidentally rolls off the bed. The second type of falls is when the older person tries to get up from bed but falls instead. Fortunately there are some safety precautions that you can take to protect your elderly loved ones from this scary experience.
Suitable Height of Beds
One of the causes of falling from bed is using a bed which has an incorrect height. The ideal height of the bed should be at knee level of the person who uses the bed. A bed that is much higher or lower than the knee height will be harder to get on and out off. Rising from a bed that is too low will be especially difficult for older persons who are weaker in strength. To add on, a tip to safely get out of bed will be to securely place feet on the ground, with hands at the side of the mattress and with weight propelled forward. This is to fully utilize the muscles located on the thighs and to achieve stability.
Different Types of Mattresses
Concave mattresses have a curve at the side of the mattress. The benefit of using concave mattresses is that it will prevent the user from rolling off the bed. For older persons with weaker muscle strength, they may face difficulties getting up from bed. The edge of the mattress may also affect balance when users are standing up.
The advantage of flat mattresses is that it allow users to get up from bed easier. The flat edge of the mattress will provide gripping and sufficient space to help users get up from bed. The disadvantage is that the mattress itself has no barrier to prevent falls. Thus users of such beds may consider bed rails or bed poles to decrease the risk of falls and to provide balance.
Installation of Bed Rails
During the recent years, the need for bed rails has increased tremendously. This is because quality bed rails are known for enhancing bed safety and security.The Installation of bed rails is also simple. In addition, some bed rails come with a safety strap to be tied around the bed frame or mattress for extra security. Bed rails focusing on falls prevention are also extendable, so that it can cover a longer distance. To prevent entanglement, bed rails should not have wide gaps in between and should include a safety pocket. While installing the bed rail, there should also be no gap between the mattress and bed rail.
On the other hand there is also another type of bed rail which focuses on providing support in terms of getting on and off the bed. These bed rails should have sufficient grip area to help seniors balance. A cushioned grip area is also recommended as it will prevent hand bruising. Some bed rails are made lighter for travelling purposes.
By implementing these simple modifications, the risk of falling from bed can be decreased tremendously. Your elderly loved ones and yourself will then be able to have an ease of mind and enjoy better sleep.
A senior friendly bedroom. (2014). Retrieved from Everyday Ergonomics: http://www.everydayergonomics.org/agingergonomics/seniorfriendlybedroom.php
Gottsacker, J. (2014). What's the Best Way to Keep My Loved One From Falling out of Bed? Retrieved from caring.com: http://www.caring.com/questions/faq-whats-the-best-way-to-keep-my-loved-one-from-falling-out-of-bed
Townsend, R. (n.d.). BEDS – Which bed-related interventions do i select tonight. Retrieved from FALLSA: http://www.fallssa.com.au_document/hp/2011_FF_Townsend.pdf