Updated at: 03-04-2023 - By: Sienna Lewis

What do you call the hospital bed’s movable side rails? A hospital bed’s side rails are the adjustable rails along the bed’s sides.

Beds typically have side rails that can be raised or lowered. This is a partition that can be fastened to the side of a hospital bed to prevent patients from falling off.

The patient is safeguarded and protected by these rails.

As an added bonus, it may help them relax.

Controls used by medical staff are built into the side rails.

So that you can adjust the hospital bed’s position, call for help, or turn on the TV.

There is more information that you should acquire, so keep reading!

What Are Hospital Bed Side Rails?

A bed’s side rail is an additional safety feature. Some bed rails are designed to be secured to the bed’s rigid frame at the foot, while others use only the weight of the mattress to stay in place. The rail’s peak is elevated in relation to the surface of the mattress. A mechanism or fixture may be built into adjustable side rails to allow for their raising, lowering, or removal.

The length of the bed’s side rails need not be limited. Half-size bed rails are typically 50 inches in length, so they must be used in pairs.

Height Adjustable Electric Hospital Bed 3 Functions for Medical Used - China Medical Equipment, Hospital Bed | Made-in-China.com

What The Adjustable Sides On A Hospital Bed Called

The name for these is “side rails,” and I mentioned them earlier.

It’s possible to find a side rail in any configuration you might need.

Patients should not be able to slip through the side rails, so they are installed.

However, some have equipment that helps the patient without the need for physical restraint.

However, this could lead to immobilization of the patient if the side rails are not constructed properly.

More than 300 people in the United States died between 1985 and 2004 because of this failure.

Read on if you’re curious about the handrails!

Material Used In Side Rails

Metal or sturdy plastic is frequently used to coat hospital handrails.

To counter this, hospitals have coated their handrails with a softer, less slippery material.

One brand of bed rail cover is Transfer Master’s Bamboo Rail Covers.

The side rails are covered in a soft, attractive, and simple-to-clean fabric.

Types Of Side Rails

What do you call the sides that can be moved up and down on a hospital bed?

In this case, they are the “side rails” that you see in many buildings.

There is a wide variety of style and size options for side rails.

Because of these distinctions, they serve distinct functions for the individual patient.

Freestanding platforms and wall-mounted variants are just two examples of the many possible placement and connection options.

There are a variety of options, including ones that can be attached to a pillow or a headboard.

They may provide extras when evaluating your options.

Benefits of Adjustable Side Rails

In particular, having side rails installed could be very helpful to the patient.

First, they ensure the safety and security of hospital beds.

Benefit #1. Lower the patient’s chances of falling when it comes to going in or out of hospital bed

Those with mobility issues or physical limitations may have trouble getting into and out of a hospital bed.

It is not uncommon for the elderly or the sick to fall or lose their balance when getting in or out of bed.

When trying to sit up in bed, stand up, or get into bed, a bed rail can be a lifesaver.

The added hold provides direction and stability while reducing the risk of falling.

Because of how little support they offer when compressed, hospital mattresses tend to be soft around the edges.

Benefit #2. Avoid patients from getting out of bed while they’re still unconscious

Rolling or jumping out of the bed is another common cause of injury in the hospital.

You might think it’s unusual to roll off a bed.

However, it happens more frequently than you might think, especially among the elderly and those taking specific medications.

People of advanced age or with sleep disorders are more likely to fall out of bed or even jump out of bed while they are still asleep.

If they misjudged the width of the bed or their position in it, they would roll out of it.

Especially if they have never gotten the hang of sleeping in a hospital bed at home.

Treatments that interfere with how the brain normally functions make the situation even worse.

Dementia sufferers are, therefore, at a much higher risk of falling out of bed.

If a patient is restrained by a side rail, they are restricted to a very small range of motion.

Protecting them from falling off the hospital bed even if they try to roll over.

Benefit #3. Assist in changing position

An adjunct to a bed that provides support and stability, also known as a side rail.

It gives nurses and patients something to lean on and something to push against when repositioning themselves in bed.

People with less strength may find it challenging to turn over in bed or switch sleeping positions.

It’s inconvenient to stay in one position for too long and can lead to health issues like bedsores.

When getting dressed, a patient can use the side rail as a stable support to hold on to or push against.

Benefit #4. Storage of equipment

Last but not least, bed rails can be used to safely anchor storage drawers, boxes, and other items to the bed.

They are ideal for storing books, periodicals, and medical supplies.

In addition to any other personal items the bed’s occupant might need.

A bed rail can also save the bed’s remote from being pushed off the side and broken.

What is the difference between an adjustable bed and a hospital bed?

A hospital bed, like an adjustable bed, can be adjusted for the patient’s head and foot height. However, unlike an adjustable bed, hospital beds can also be adjusted for the patient’s body length. It’s surprising how few modern adjustable beds come with a hi-low option. However, there are some notable exceptions, such as the Flex-a-Bed Hi Low 185 shown below.

Optional side rails of varying lengths and designs can be added to hospital beds to make the setup more secure and safe and to protect patients from falls and injuries. Bed frames with built-in adjustments are more constrained in terms of design and functionality.

Finally, hospital beds come in a variety of widths to suit individual needs.

A standard hospital bed might not be adequate for a larger patient. These are available in three different widths (42 inches, 48 inches, and 54 inches) and can support patients weighing anywhere from 500 to 900 pounds. Full electrical capabilities are standard on modern bariatric (heavy duty) hospital beds.

These beds cost more than regular hospital beds, so it’s important to carefully weigh your needs before making a purchase.

Low Price Standard Dimensions Mobile Adjustable Simple 2 Cranks Manual Hospital Bed With Side Rails For Hospital Patient - Buy Big Boy Vibrating Adjustable Equipment Clinitron Hospital Bed For Rent In The

Only standard twin XL, full XL, and queen size mattresses can be used on an adjustable bed.

Does the height of the hospital bed really matter?

The ability to adjust the hospital bed’s mattress’s height off the floor greatly facilitates getting patients in and out of bed. Caregiver comfort is increased as well, as they won’t have to bend or strain as much to get to the patient. This is a useful function to have whether or not the patient is confined to bed.

Depending on the model, a hospital bed’s height adjustment can go as low as 15 inches from the floor to the top of the mattress and as high as 35 inches. Adjustable hospital beds typically have a height range of between 21 and 29 inches from the floor to the top of the mattress.

A low hospital bed with a 9.5-inch deck height off the floor will give you about 15 inches to top-of-mattress height; going lower than this may be necessary due to fall risk or for extra versatility and maneuverability. This is also important for patients who are particularly short and may have trouble getting into a regular hospital bed even when it is lowered to its lowest position.

Do I need an electric hospital bed?

The patient’s size and level of mobility will dictate the type of bed that should be used. Find below information on how to make both hand and power-operated adjustments to your hospital bed.

Manual (hand crank) requires an able-bodied caregiver

At this cheapest level, an attendant makes all necessary modifications. At the foot of the bed, you’ll find three hand cranks. The bed can be adjusted in height by turning three separate cranks: one for the head, one for the foot, and one for the overall frame. If the patient is mobile and able to assist with their own position changes and getting in and out of bed, this may be a viable option.

Semi-electric gives the patient some autonomy

This bed is more expensive, but it allows the patient more freedom of movement. A single hand crank adjusts the overall height, while separate electric controls at the head and foot allow for independent movement.

Full-electric provides the most independence

Patients who need to get in and out of bed frequently or who do not have the assistance of a caregiver to raise and lower the overall bed height may prefer this option because of the hand-held control for the bed’s overall height, head adjustments, and foot adjustments.

A full-electric hospital bed, including a mattress and side rails, can be purchased for less than $800, making it the most cost-effective option for long-term home care.

Care costs can be reduced without sacrificing quality by employing a caregiver for every bed change.

Can I use a regular mattress on a hospital bed?

There is no simple solution to this problem, unfortunately. Why? There are three issues that make using a regular mattress on a hospital bed undesirable or impossible.

1. Standard mattresses do not fit on hospital beds

A hospital bed requires a mattress that is 36 inches wide by 80 inches long. The standard size for a twin mattress is 39 inches wide by 75 inches long. A standard Twin XL bed measures 80 inches by 39 inches. These additional three inches in width will make the bed difficult to use and may even damage the mattress and frame. If the patient’s side rails or other safety features are malfunctioning, it can be very dangerous for them.

2. Hospital mattresses are designed to bend with the bed adjustments

The mattress on a hospital bed must be flexible enough to bend with the bed as it is adjusted for the patient’s height and position. Regular innerspring mattresses are designed to be rigid, so they won’t work with a hospital bed and can even hinder the bed frame’s ability to be adjusted.

3. Hospital bed mattresses help prevent bed sores

Bedridden patients who spend all day in bed are at risk for developing painful pressure ulcers or bed sores on their heels, elbows, shoulder blades, and lower back. Once they appear, getting rid of them can be challenging, expensive, and time consuming. It is unpleasant for the patient and adds work for the caregiver. Even if you survive the initial injury, an infection poses a serious risk to your health and may necessitate hospitalization.

Hospital mattresses are constructed in a specific way to prevent pressure ulcers by:

  1. The stress must be released.
    Patient weight should be evenly distributed across the mattress. The elderly, the obese, and the underweight are at increased risk for bed sores because there is less muscle and fat between them and the mattress. For these patients, a foam or air mattress is the best option.
  2. Promote ventilation
    Bed sores are more likely to occur when there is inadequate ventilation of the skin. Patients who are overweight may be at a higher risk of developing sores due to overheating. They can reduce their risk of bed sores by sleeping on a mattress designed to promote air circulation.

No one wants to spend their last months with a loved one or their first months after an illness or surgery battling bed sores, so it’s important to weigh the cost of a mattress against its potential benefits before making a purchase.

The best course of action is prevention, and a good mattress can help with that.

Home Hospital Bed - Advantages and Disadvantages

Which type of mattress do I need for a hospital bed?

The answers to the following questions will help you select the most appropriate hospital bed mattress for you:

  • How long will the patient be bedridden each day?
  • Does the patient have the ability to move around without assistance?
  • How long will they be confined to a hospital bed?
  • What is the patient’s current weight?
  • How big are their muscles?

Once you’ve figured out the responses to these questions, you’ll be able to choose wisely.

Should I buy a hospital bed and mattress individually or as a set?

When purchasing a hospital bed, it is typically best to purchase the bed, mattress, and side rails together. It’s possible to buy the mattress and bed separately, but many retailers also provide a number of bundles to help you find the best fit at the best price.

What other hospital bed accessories do I need?

Bed rails

Bed rails, or side rails, are recommended for those who are at risk of falling out of bed. They don’t keep a patient chained to the bed, but they do a good job of keeping them from falling out.

Both short and long bed rails are available. Those who can get out of bed unassisted or who simply need something to hold onto when getting in and out of bed benefit most from half-length side rails. The individual only needs to sit up and swing their legs over the bed’s foot end.

Those patients who require full-length side rails are those who have to have an attendant help them get out of bed. They also offer the most protection along the bed’s sides to keep the patient from rolling off.


You may be able to use a Twin XL fitted sheet on your hospital bed, though there are specialized sheets available for hospital mattress sizes. Due to the additional 2-3 inches in width, there will be some excess fabric; to prevent it from getting in the way of the side rails or the bed adjustment mechanism, simply tuck it in.

Sheets tailored to the exact dimensions of your mattress are easily accessible (for instance, here on this very website). If you already own a suitable top sheet in twin size, you can save money by purchasing just the bottom fitted sheet separately.


The use of rolling tables (overbed tables) facilitates the completion of tasks for bedridden patients. Many of them can be adjusted to different heights and often extend far beyond the length of the bed. Indeed, some of them lean. A table can improve a patient’s quality of life by allowing them to eat, read, or write in an upright position.


The trapeze bars can be mounted on a separate stand or integrated into the frame of the bed itself, making them a convenient aid for changing positions in bed or getting in and out of it.

Mattress toppers (overlays)

A mattress topper could be the answer if you have a standard mattress but want to improve air circulation or protect yourself from bed sores. Pads can be pumped alternately with gel or foam, or both.

Will insurance or Medicare pay for my hospital bed?

When deciding how to provide care for a patient at home, finances naturally play a significant role. But the choice isn’t always as clear cut as you’d like. If a patient meets the requirements, their health insurance or Medicare will likely cover the cost of their hospital bed rental in full or in large part. They typically rent a hospital bed instead of buying it outright, and then buy it at the end of the rental period.

However, when you factor in your copay, which is typically 10% to 30% of the rental cost, and the length of time you will need the bed, purchasing can be a better financial option. For instance, the copay may exceed the cost of a new bed if you expect to use the bed for more than four to six months.

There will be few options for renting hospital beds. Insurance typically only covers services from providers in your immediate area. The goods you receive are typically determined by whatever is currently available. A lot of the time, instead of providing fully electric beds, they will give you manual or semi-electric beds that have been previously used.

So now, which type of home hospital bed is best for you, bedridden or not?

A hospital bed is a significant investment, and if you’ve read this far you know there’s a lot to think about. We’re here to guide you through the decision-making process so you can get back to supporting your loved ones as soon as possible, and we won’t leave you hanging if you make the wrong call.

Our President, Matthew Voralik, has been assisting families in making informed equipment purchases for their homes for over 25 years. The following is his recommended hospital bed and mattress combination.

It’s important to remember that Matthew’s Pick might not be the best option for you once you factor in your personal circumstances. Consequently, we offer supplementary means of benefiting from our competence.


A hospital bed’s side rails are there for safety reasons, but they can be dangerous in certain circumstances.

Incorrect installation or use of inappropriate bedding, for instance, could result in the patient becoming entrapped beneath the rail.

Death has occurred in extremely unusual cases when someone became trapped behind a bed rail.

Bed rails should be properly installed in all hospital beds, so check on that regularly.

In order to make use of them comfortably, a suitable mattress and cushion must be used.

Using Side Rails Safely

Although side rails on a hospital bed at home are a helpful feature, they should be used with caution. A person sleeping in the bed can get stuck under the rail if it is not installed properly or if it is used with the wrong mattress. Death has occurred very rarely when someone has become trapped under a bed rail. A bed rail is only useful if it is properly installed and used with a bed and mattress that are suited for it.

Get in touch with us today to find out more about our hospital bed rails, hospital beds, mattresses, and other hospital bed accessories.

Learn More About Transfer Master Hospital Beds

An assortment of hospital bed types is available. Visit this page first if you have any concerns or want to find out more about hospital beds or the accessories that can be purchased separately to enhance your experience while using one.


What do you call the parts of a hospital bed that allow the patient to change their position?

The patient and the nurses both benefit greatly from having side rails.

There is a wide variety of shapes and sizes to choose from.

Due to their differences, they serve distinct functions for the individual patient.

Both their physical placement and the means by which they are linked vary.

You have the option of a freestanding platform, a wall-mounted one, or one that is attached to your mattress or headboard.

They may provide you with supplementary options as you’re evaluating the available ones.

Considered an important part of any hospital bed, they are essential in many situations.