Bedtime comes with a certain sense of dread for the man or woman who has mobility issues. It’s not necessarily the sleeping the person is anxious about but getting into and out of the bed.
When bed mobility is a challenge, it may be time to ask yourself the question: would you benefit from a bed cane?
What is a Bed Cane?
A bed cane is a simple device designed to help make getting both into and out of bed easier. Shaped either as a capital ‘T’ or capital ‘L’, a bed cane is comprised of metal and has a handle right at the side of the bed designed for helping somebody to get into or out of bed with ease.
The bed cane is secured to the bed via a long strip of metal under the mattress. This helps prevent the device from collapsing when it has large amounts of pressure exerted against it. This is the vertical section of the capital ‘T’ or ‘L’. And no, this won’t cause there to be a large bulge underneath the mattress, making it difficult to sleep.
The anchoring bar of the bed cane is not noticeable under the mattress. This anchoring bar often comes with a sturdy canvas strap attached to the back end of it as well to serve as a further layer of insurance that the bed cane will stay where it is supposed to.
At the end of the canvas strap is a little plastic or metal anchor. Simply pull the strap to the opposite side of the bed and allow it to grasp the opposing side of the mattress.
It’s a very simple device that can provide a very large amount of benefit with it.
Does Health Insurance Cover Bed Canes?
Most health insurance plans do not cover bed canes. However, it’s hard to know until one speaks with the insurance company or a durable medical equipment provider does it on your behalf. Perchance your health plan is one of the small minority of plans which will cover the cost of a bed cane, a doctor’s prescription is going to be necessary so that the cane is designated “medically necessary.”
You can attempt to get one covered by explaining to your doctor the need for some means of getting out of bed in a safer manner, and that you’ve heard about a device called a bed cane. If you get a prescription for one, you very well may be able to get one included within your health plan.
Why Do People Buy Bed Canes?
There are many reasons why people find the need to buy a bed cane. To start with, consider the man who has just undergone some form of surgery. Perhaps he had his gallbladder removed, a kidney operation, or had open-heart surgery performed.
In any of these cases, the very act of getting out of bed could be brutal. Pain is going to be the limiting factor here, and the core strength necessary to bring the torso either up from or down to a horizontal position is going to be agonizing.
Nightly Bathroom Trips
Perhaps someone is struggling with nightly incontinence and balks at the idea of using adult pullups. If regular trips to the bathroom throughout the night play a part in one’s life, they need to ensure that they have their bearings as they prepare to get up in the dark sleep-drunk from their latest dream.
If you add in fighting prescription medications, such as sleeping aids, into the picture, you can see how this could very easily end up spelling disaster. Not being completely aware of one’s surroundings in such a situation could very easily lead to a dangerous fall.
A stroke can lead to either muscle weakness or paralysis which can make it very difficult to get up or into bed. But a bed cane could even help here.
Risk of Falls
An increased risk of falls is something that accompanies us into old age. The fact of the matter is that nobody wants to fall, and amongst the elderly, this is a very real health risk. Falls are the largest cause of injury to seniors within the United States. They’re also the largest cause of traumatic brain injury amongst seniors.
Broken hips, internal bleeding, facial trauma, and brain bleeds are no laughing matter. Aside from the physical pain involved, many injuries caused by falls seem to like to stick around for a little bit of time afterwards as seniors do not heal as quickly as does a younger person.
There are balance exercises for seniors that can help, but even these may only go so far. A bed cane can help reduce the risk of a fall while transitioning to/from bed.
According to data from 2019, 45.6% of those 65+ years old within the United States have backpain. Of course, the degree of severity here is going to vary wildly, but it’s not unreasonable to assume that many these people are going to have some degree of difficulty with getting out of bed in the morning after several hours of immobility.
Other studies have shown that by the time one reaches their 80th birthday, they’ve already likely lost 50% of the skeletal muscle mass that they had when they were 40. This in turn can lead to an ever-increasing amount of difficulty with getting out of bed in the morning. This age-related muscle loss is referred to as sarcopenia, and can result in several physical limitations.
Though a bed cane is by no means a panacea, it is a tool which can be easily incorporated by just about anybody to better ensure that they are able to stay safe within their bedroom and to better get out of bed with minimal pain.
How Does a Bed Cane Work?
A bed cane is about as simple to set up and use as possible. All one must do is to slide the bed cane’s anchoring bar underneath of the mattress!
Should there be an anchoring strap as well with the model of bed cane, one is going to want to anchor it onto the opposing side of the mattress as well. And typically, that’s all there is to it with bed cane set up. It’s not a complicated process.
There are some models out there which the user can adjust the height of the handle, but it’s typically no different than how one adjusts the height on a regular metal cane: you press in the spring-loaded metal button, pull the height to what you want it, and the spring-loaded metal button latches back into place in one of the holes.
Using a bed cane simply requires grabbing it with your hand and using that to give you extra support and leverage to position yourself however you need to position yourself. There’s really nothing to it!
But now that we’ve taken the time to discuss why bed canes are so great, let’s now delve into what are some of the best ones available on the market.
5 Best Bed Canes
The market for bed canes is rather saturated, which speaks to the need for them but so many choices can make it difficult to determine what is a worthwhile piece of equipment and what is better left collecting dust on a warehouse shelf in Topeka.
We here at Elder Guru have taken a good hard look at what is available out there, and the following models are what we believe to be some of the best bed canes you can buy.
If you are not finding what you like below, or you want other mobility aids, you may find what you’re looking for at these two large online retailers in durable medical equipment:
The following are all available on Amazon, but the above two retailers specialize in mobility equipment.
1. Medline Bed Assist Bar with Storage Pocket
- Medline Bed Rail Assist Bar provides help for seniors or elderly adults with getting in and out of bed | Bed safety bar can be placed on either side of the bed
- Quick and easy tool-free assembly, latex-free, sturdy construction
This is the most popular model of bed cane available on Amazon and has well over 11,000 reviews and a 4.5-star rating. That’s hard to beat! The entire set up is all of six pounds, so you’re not talking about an impossibly heavy piece of equipment to set up here.
It’s designed to work all the way up to a queen-sized bed as well. Better ensuring that the bed cane stays in place are anchoring straps. Plus, there’s a little storage pocket to hold glasses, oversized TV remotes, cell phones, or whatever else needs to stay close at hand at night.
2. Vive Bed Assist Rail
- SAFE BEDSIDE SUPPORT FROM A TRUSTED BRAND: Providing additional assistance when getting into or out of bed, the safety rail is stable and secure. The bed rail is held securely in place with a stabilizing bar and rubber tipped legs. The bed assist handle also folds flat for convenient storage. Perfect for seniors, those recovering from hip replacement surgery, or suffering from back pain or other injuries.
- USE WITH ANY BED: For use on either side of the bed, the durable steel bed assist rail works with any bed size from a king to twin. The height is also adjustable from 13” to 21” to work with most frame and mattress combinations. Bed must be within 13" to 21" off the ground for optimal use.
This is about as light as it gets when it comes to bed canes, weighing it at all of 0.04 pounds. It will work with any size of bed as well, even a king sized one. If one’s just looking for a bed cane to last them as they recover from surgery, this version folds flat for easy storage when it’s no longer needed.
As with most bed canes, the height can easily be tailored for whatever is most convenient, being adjustable from 13” all the way to 21”.
3. Vaunn Medical Adjustable Bed Assist Rail Handle
- FALL PREVENTION & MOBILITY INDEPENDENCE - Our bed rail passed ASTM F3186–17 Safety Standard Specification for Adult Portable Bed Rails in compliance with CPSC. Use the bed rail as a safe and secure way for disabled individuals or anyone with limitations or injuries to get in and out of bed unassisted to perform daily tasks (eating, reading, working) without leaving the bed.
- SAFE & DURABLE MODERN DESIGN - Heavy-duty powder-coated steel provides a strong, sturdy frame that holds up to 300 lbs and supports the transfer in and out of bed from a walker/wheelchair. Modern bed rail design blends in nicely in any bedroom.
Yet another highly rated bed cane is available from Vaunn. This is a heftier piece of equipment – weighing 7.7 pounds – but it can support somewhere between 250 -300 pounds (they advertise it as both weights, so it’s rather unclear which is the true figure).
The Vaunn bed cane fits any size bed, though it doesn’t work on mattresses that are less than 5” in height. So yes, there are a few prerequisites to ensure of here before one goes and makes their purchase, but this is still a very nice bed cane.
4. Stander Bed Cane
- Prevent Falls: The ergonomic padded handle of the BedCane aids users when transferring in and out of bed and safely supports up to 300 pounds; customize the BedCane to your individual comfort, the height of the handle can be adjusted from 16 to 21 inches
- Compatibility: For use with most traditional and platform beds including Twin, Full, Queen, King, and California King, and with mattresses between 12 to 16 inches thick; not intended for use on adjustable beds or beds with extra soft mattresses
If you’re looking for a particularly heavy-duty bed cane, it’s hard to go wrong with the stander. This piece can support up to 350 pounds and weighs 12 pounds itself. It comes with a safety strap to attach to the opposite side of the bed and works with most beds out there as well. It can’t handle adjustable beds though. If that’s what you’re sleeping in, you’re going to need to search for some other product.
However, for just about everybody else, this makes for a great purchase. With a 15” handle there’s plenty of hand space to grab onto, and there are no bars touching your floor you have to worry about tripping over either.
5. Stander PT BedCane Transfer Handle
- Prevent Falls: The ergonomic hand rail of the PT BedCane will aid you or your loved ones when transferring in and out of bed and safely supports up to 300 pounds; the unique shape of the handle allows users to apply a two-handed grip for extra leverage
- Compatibility: For use with most traditional and platform beds including Twin, Full, Queen, King, and California King, and with mattresses between 8 to 15 inches thick; not intended for use on adjustable beds or beds with extra soft mattresses
If you enjoy doing a lot of traveling but still need a way to ensure that you are safely able to both get out of and into bed, then the Stander PT BedCane Transfer Handle is likely the best option you have available to you on the market.
This is your traditional bed cane, just a smaller, more portable version of such. As a result, it can easily stow away in the trunk of a car without feeling as if you’re hauling a collection of scrap metal around in a Honda Civic. This cane can support up to 300 pounds and is adjustable.
The handle only weighs 5.6 pounds, and it comes with a handy canvas pocket on it as well to help you to keep yourself organized as you’re getting settled in your newest hotel room.
Whatever the reason – frequent nightly trips to the bathroom, an upcoming surgery, or dizziness upon changing positions – a bed cane can easily serve as a highly effective means of better ensuring one stays safe around their bed. Falls – while enjoyable on The Three Stooges – are not so much when they are experienced in real life, and with seniors, they can come with serious consequences.
Should this be a concern, a bed cane can not only help to provide a safer bedroom but can also bring some level of mental ease with it as well. Likewise, consider a shower transfer bench or a wheelchair transfer board if those products could also help with mobility.
Are there other products you think deserve a mention though? Have you tried any of these products? Let us know in the comments below!