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Key messages

Bed rails are used when you are concerned about a person falling out of bed. But there are risks associated with their use.

To help you use bed rails safely, Safer Care Victoria has developed guidance, a flowchart and a consumer information sheet.

Make sure you complete an individual risk assessment every time you are considering using bed rails.

On this page

Bed rails attach to the sides of a bed, and may be used when there are concerns about a person falling out of bed. They have caused harm when a patient/client has become trapped, or fallen when trying to climb out of bed. 

New guidance out now

Guidance on use of bed rails steps you through everything you need to consider when making the clinical decision to use bed rails, or managing a request from a patient/client or their family/friends.

For a quick reference, download this flowchart

Using bed rails safely

1. Conduct an individual assessment

To make sure bed rails are used safely, conduct an assessment for each person. People at higher risk include people with cognitive impairment, dementia, delirium, involuntary movements, impaired mobility and sensory impairment.

2. Consider alternatives

These can include lowering the bed, using a floorline or bigger bed, using specialised equipment and sitting the person out of bed during the day.

3. Gain consent

This should involve a discussion with the person and their family or carer about the risks and alternatives.

Use or adapt our consumer information sheet

4. Minimise risk during use

If bed rails are used, alert the entire care team, put in place measures to minimise risk and use them only as long as you have to.

5. Regularly review the decision to use bed rails

You should only use bed rails as long as you have to.

Get in touch

Centre of Clinical Excellence - Older People
Safer Care Victoria

Page last updated: 22 Dec 2020

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