Each year, falls injure millions of older adults. Some of these injuries are caused by falls from bed. Weakness, illness, poor balance, and dementia can increase your loved one’s risk of falling out of bed. Taking steps to prevent falls and reduce the risk of injury when getting out of bed can help you both rest easier.
Items That May Prevent Falling Out of Bed
If your loved one is weak because of an illness or injury, ask their doctor or home care nurse about getting a hospital bed. These beds come with built-in rails, and they also have controls that can move the mattress into various positions. If your loved one is comfortable in bed, they may be less likely to fall. Medicare or Medicaid may cover hospital beds.
Bed rails can be attached to a regular bed — on one or both sides. Your loved one can also use a sturdy bed rail to help them get into a sitting position on the side of the bed.
If your loved one doesn’t like the idea of bed rails, a pool noodle is an option. Put the noodle near the side of the bed, tucking it under the mattress pad or fitted sheet. The noodle is not visible, but when your loved one rolls over, it will prevent them from falling out of bed.
Foam wedges are often used to keep people in a certain position if they are injured or have bedsores. Wedges can also be placed on the sides of the bed to prevent your loved one from rolling off.
Items that May Reduce the Risk of Injury
One of the main reasons people try to get out of bed is to go to the bathroom. If you place a commode (a free-standing toilet) close to the bed, your loved one won’t need to walk far.
You can attach devices such as SafeWander to your loved one’s pajamas or clothing. If they try to get out of bed, the device will send an instant alert to your cell phone.
Placing a floor mat right next to the bed won’t stop your loved one from falling, but it will provide a softer landing if they do.