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HealthInfo Canterbury

Bed levers

A bed lever is a piece of equipment with a metal loop that extends up the side of your mattress. It is held in place with a wooden board or metal prongs that extend under your mattress. Bed levers are sometimes called bedside handles, bed grab rails, or bed loops.

A bed lever can help you to:

You can also use a bed lever to:

Should I use a bed lever?

Bed levers can be very useful if you have problems with mobility, but you must have enough upper body strength and movement to use a bed lever safely. If your health has got worse recently, it may no longer be appropriate for you to use a bed lever, and you should ask to be assessed by an occupational therapist.

You shouldn't use a bed lever with an air mattress, or with adjustable beds that let you raise and lower the head (once you raise the head of the bed the lever becomes insecure). If you use an air mattress or have an adjustable bed, talk to an occupational therapist about what you can do.

And don't put the lever near the head of your bed, as your head could get stuck in it.

Bed levers won't stop you falling out of bed, so don't use them as bed guards.

Also, some bed levers aren't suitable to use on wooden slat beds. If you have a slat bed, choose a lever that has rubber grips on the base to stop it from sliding around.

You shouldn't use a bed lever if you:

If you're not sure about how to install or use a bed lever, talk to your occupational therapist.

How to use a bed lever

Sitting down

Stand with the back of your legs touching your bed. Hold onto the bed lever to provide support as you lower yourself onto the bed.

Getting into bed

While sitting on the bed, hold the bed lever to provide support as you swing your legs onto the bed.

Getting out of bed

Hold on to the bed lever for support as you swing your legs onto the ground.

Standing up

Make sure you have your balance and your feet on the floor, hold the bed lever and push yourself into a standing position.

Also make sure that when the bed lever is in place and you are in bed you can still reach things like your bedside light and telephone.

General maintenance

Every time you use your bed lever, make sure it's fitted firmly between the bed base and mattress, and that there are no gaps between the upright part of the lever and the mattress.

Check it every day to make sure it hasn't moved out of position. The lever and the mattress can both move, creating a gap you could get something stuck in.

If you notice the lever often moves out of position, or the tubing has bent, let your occupational therapist know.

If you need any more information about how to use your bed lever safely, contact the supplier or your occupational therapist.

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Written by the South Canterbury DHB. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created July 2017. Last updated February 2019.


Page reference: 312348

Review key: HICMA-171761