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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Bed levers

Tūwhiti moenga

Bed lever with central bar correctly installed on bedA bed lever is a piece of equipment with a metal loop (handle) that extends up the side of your mattress. It's held in place with a wooden base that is secured to the bed with string and a cleat placed on the opposite side of the bed to the loop. 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:

When to 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 recently got worse, 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.

Bed levers will not stop you falling out of bed, so do not use them as bed guards.

Do not put the lever near the head of your bed, as you could hit your head on it or get your head stuck.

You shouldn't use a bed lever if you:

Installing a bed lever

In the links at the bottom of this page you can watch a video that shows how to install one type of bed lever and read installation instructions for two popular bed lever brands. It's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions for the type of bed lever you have.

Make sure that when the bed lever is in place and you're in bed you can still reach things like your bedside light and phone.

How to use a bed lever

Sitting down

Stand with the back of your legs touching your bed. Hold on to the bed lever to provide support as you sit down on 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 as you sit yourself up, then swing your legs over the side of the bed to reach the floor.

Standing up

Once you are sitting on the edge of the bed, make sure you have your balance, and your feet are flat on the floor. To stand, hold the bed lever with one hand and push yourself off the bed with the other into a standing position.

General maintenance

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

Check it every day to make sure it has not moved out of position and the cleat is secure.

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

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

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Written by the South Canterbury DHB. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed November 2022.


Page reference: 312348

Review key: HIDAH-120231