Devices Used in Nursing to Promote Safety

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

In nursing practices, safety is paramount and the use of various devices can reduce risk of injury. Learn the use of mobility aids, bed rails, and restraints that protect patients and clinicians from unnecessary harm. Updated: 11/15/2021


When Jane's father died, she was more than happy to have her mother move in with her. However, as the years passed, her mother grew increasingly weak and unsteady. She also noticed that her mother would become confused and forgetful in the evenings. One night, Jane woke up to find her mother had gotten out of bed and fallen in her bathroom. Jane worried about her mother's safety and felt she could no longer sufficiently care for her mother in her home. But, would a nursing home be a safer solution? In this lesson, we'll follow Jane as she consults with a representative from a nursing home. You'll learn about devices used in nursing that promote patient safety.

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  • 0:00 Safety
  • 0:42 Mobility Aids
  • 2:23 Bed Rails
  • 3:15 Restraints
  • 4:21 Lesson Summary
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Mobility Aids

Jane visited Restful Pines Nursing Home to meet with Sue, who was the representative that would show Jane around the facility. Sue assured Jane that creating an environment that was safe for the patients was a high priority for the Restful Pines staff.

She mentioned that, like Jane's mother, many of the nursing home residents had a desire to continue walking but were growing increasingly unsteady. To help Jane's mother, Sue discussed the use of a mobility aid, such as a cane, which is an assistance device with a single handle, or walker, which is an assistance device with four widely placed legs or wheels. Canes, walkers, and other mobility devices allow patients to continue independent mobility with less fear of a fall. They're also used to prevent physical weakening and help patients avoid pressure ulcers that can develop when a patient spends long hours in a seat or bed. Sue went on to explain that Jane's mother would be fitted for the right mobility device. For instance, walkers come in different heights to match the height of the user. She also mentioned that Jane's mother would be introduced to a physical or occupational therapist who would train her in how to properly use a mobility device.

Jane felt this was a good way for her mother to remain safe while walking, but she did have a concern. Jane mentioned to Sue that her mother was growing increasingly forgetful and confused. After hearing a story about how Jane's mother had gotten out of bed and fallen, Sue asked Jane to walk with her into one of the resident's bedrooms so she could show her another device used to promote safety.

Bed Rails

In the bedroom, Jane learned about bed rails, which are board-like devices that run the length of the bed that can be raised and lowered. Sue shared some of the benefits of bed rails, including a feeling of security, a reduced risk of falling out of bed, and an aid for turning while in bed. However, she noted that Jane's mother would need to be evaluated to determine if bed rails were right for her due to the potential risks of bed rail use. These risks include injuries from trying to crawl over the rail, a feeling of isolation, and even strangulation or suffocation due to being caught between the rails.

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