A side rail is a safety device to prevent the patient from rolling out of bed. They should never be used as a restraint device.
There will be a gap between the side rail and the mattress when the head spring is elevated. This is normal.
The rails are lowered by pulling out on the pull buttons or plungers. Care should be exercised not to catch the patient's hands or feet in the rails as they are lowered. It is wise to hold the rail with one hand, while releasing the latch with the other, so that the rail can be lowered slowly and in a controlled manner.
To raise the rail simply lift up the center until the plungers snap into the holes in the rail. Visually check to confirm the plungers are securely seated.
Some bed rails permit the head rail to be raised independently of the foot rail to provide a half rail effect if desired.
When assisting a patient to turn on to their side, the rails should be in the up and locked position. The caregiver should stand on the side toward which the patient is to be turned-then reach over the rail and pull to provide the needed assistance. Providing this assistance can be made much easier by first adjusting the bed to a convenient height.
To make the bed:
- Lower the rail on the side.
- Drop the linen between the rails and the mattress.
- Tuck the linen and blankets.
- Raise the rail to the up position.
- Follow the same procedure on the opposite side.
Periodic lubrication of the sliding and telescoping parts of the rails with silicone spray will keep them operating easily and smoothly. Only silicone spray should be used for this lubrication procedure. Similar petroleum based sprays such as WD-40 will soil the bed linens.