A Guide to Specialist Care Beds
If you’re looking for a bed with specialist functionality for care, the different functions and features can sometimes seem overwhelming. We’ve explored the common terms you might find when searching for your bed, and discussed some of the benefits and drawbacks. We hope it helps!
Bed rails are either wood or metal barriers that run parallel down each side of the bed. These are designed to prevent the user from accidentally falling during the night, and can be raised or lowered to allow or restrict access. However, this lack of access is sometimes a problem. While it may prevent a person from accidentally falling out of bed, if they need to use the bathroom in the night, it will restrict them from exiting the bed.
Split rails are the solution to this. Split rails are standard bed rails that separate into two halves at the middle point of the bed (usually around hip level). This allows you to keep the top end of the bed safely encased (rails up), but the bottom half to be made accessible (rails down).
If you’re speaking to someone about specialist care beds and they refer to ‘cot rails’, don’t be confused. This is just a rather antiquated term for bed rails, and although the term is out of favour, it means the same thing.
Height adjustable, or low beds
Some beds can be raised or lowered in height. Raising a bed can make things easier for carers, as they don’t have to bend low to carry out personal care. Lowering a bed to within 20 centimetres of ground can also be beneficial for users prone to falling, as they will only fall a short distance from the mattress to the floor.
If a person is susceptible to falls, there are a range of specialist floor mats available. Placed next to the bed, they sound out an alarm or send a message when they detect pressure. These should be placed next to the bed.
Profiling simply means a controlled rising of certain parts of the mattress. This is typically the backrest (which can be raised to create a sitting position) and a knee-break. A rise in the mattress at knee level lifts the legs, preventing the user from slipping down the bed, as well as relieving pressure under the ischial tuberosity (bony prominences under the buttocks) and water retention.
All modern profiling beds are 100% mechanised, and the profiling action is operated via a handset, which controls electric motors.
We only get good quality sleep if the body is properly supported. Pressure-relieving mattresses redistribute body weight to avoid pressure points. This results in a comfortable night’s sleep and prevents pressure damage, such as ulcers.