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It is thought that as many as 20,000 adults sustain an injury from falling out of bed every year.
While installing bed grab rails can prevent people from falling in the first place, you might consider using a bedside fall mat which could be the difference between a harmless fall and one that causes significant injury.
Safety Fall Mats Comparison Chart
Drive Medical Tri-Fold Bedside Mat
Vive Fall Mat
Drive Medical Safetycare Floor Mat
Secure SBSM-1 Bedside Floor Safety Mat
Medacure Bed Safety Fall Mat
30" (W) X 72" (L) X 2" (H)
24" (W) X 72" (L) X 0.88" (H)
24" (W) X 66" (L) X 2" (H)
30" (W) X 66" (L) X 2" (H)
24" (W) X 70" (L) X 0.75" (H)
Number of Sections
What is a Bedside Fall Mat?
It’s important to keep in mind that a bedside fall mat will not stop a person from falling out of bed, but it will take much of the impact of their fall. These mats are made from high-density foam that is incredibly shock-absorbing, meaning that there is a reduced chance of a serious injury after a fall.
The bedside fall mat offers great flexibility and can be used at home as well as in a care or nursing home setting. More often than not, these mats will be used alongside a low bed; anything significantly high may be too far a distance to safely fall, and rails may be a more suitable option.
Bedside fall mats not only reduce the risk of bruises, bumps, and breaks but they are also anti-slip so are safe when getting in and out of bed. They’re made from antimicrobial material and are easy to clean and maintain.
Can a Bedside Fall Mat Keep Seniors Safe & Prevent Injuries?
Older adults are at an increased risk of falling out of bed, and this can be for a variety of reasons. Seniors with cognitive impairments such as dementia are thought to be 28% more likely to fall out of bed. This is usually when getting into and out of bed but can also be as a result of rolling over while in the bed.
In some cases, there have been reports of the elderly ‘jumping’ in a dream only to wake up and realize that they are on the floor. This may sometimes be a result of side effects from medication but could also be related to the sleeping environment. Some beds may be too small, too high, or may even be fitted with bed sheets that cause the sleeper to slide around.
An older adult may suffer from disorientation or may simply be trying to rush out of the bed to get to the toilet on time. In this hurry, it is not uncommon for the senior to fall.
Whatever has caused the fall, it’s safe to say that the results can be horrific. Some people may suffer bruising, which can take longer to heal and be painful as they get older while others may cut themselves, which carries a risk of infection. There is also a very real chance of breaking a bone, which can decrease the independence of the senior during the healing process. In some of the most serious cases, broken bones may lead to surgical procedures such as a hip replacement which can be incredibly debilitating.
While a bedside fall mat cannot stop the senior from falling out of bed, it will absorb much of the shock, meaning that serious injuries are less likely. They are so reliable that many products can have an egg dropped on them from as high as five feet without the egg cracking!
But it is also important to take other precautions such as using body pillows, rails and assessing the general sleeping environment to help prevent falls in the first place.
How to Use a Fall Mat Safely?
To successfully prevent injuries in patients who may fall from their beds, the fall mat must be used safely and correctly. It has been demonstrated that incorrect use could result in falls, especially for those with balance impairments. The following points will ensure that you always get the maximum benefit from the mat.
- When choosing a fall mat, you should always make sure that the backing is anti-slip, as this will prevent the mat from moving as the person gets in and out of bed.
- Another important aspect of choosing a mat is selecting the right size. The mat should run the full length of the bed so that, no matter where the person falls from, they are protected.
- The fall mat should always be placed on the side of the bed that the person exits from.
- The person using the bed should be aware that there is a fall mat in place. This will ensure that they move across it safely when getting in and out of bed.
- The fall mat may serve as a tripping hazard if it cannot be seen. It is important to install an automatic light that comes on when the person gets out of bed. Should they need to use the bathroom at night, this light will illuminate the area and prevent tripping.
- Alternatively, you might choose a mat with glow-in-the-dark strips, as these provide another safe way to navigate the mat when it is dark.
- To further limit the possibility of the mat being a trip hazard, you should ensure that the mat is laid flat with no bumps or curved edges. When not in use, we recommend removing the mat.
- Many fall mats come with angled edges which should be used by anyone going over the mat in a wheelchair or when using a wheeled walker. This will prevent instability.
- Fall mats are typically easy to clean, but they should be fully dried again before use to ensure that they aren’t slippery. You must also check that the edges have not curled and that there are no areas of damage.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bedside Fall Mat
When choosing a bedside fall mat, you will notice that there are several options. It is crucial that you compare these options with your needs to ensure you get the right product.
Fall mats come in a wide range of shapes and sizes. You’ll need to make sure that the one you choose is wide enough and long enough to offer adequate protection should the sleeper fall out of bed. It should be at least as long as the bed.
Foldable or Non-Foldable
It is always advisable to remove the fall mat when there is nobody using the bed as this also removes any potential trip hazards. But the type of mat you choose will depend on what storage you have available. There are some fall mats that can be folded making them ideal for people who are limited on storage space.
These are also a good option for those who travel as many are fitted with a carry handle for easier transportation.
You may also wish to consider how the mat folds. Some will simply fold in half, while others have a tri-fold design which makes them even more compact when folded.
Many older adults suffer from incontinence, and so it is important to have a mat that is easy to keep hygienic. This means opting for something that has a waterproof cover; materials like vinyl are ideal for this. The mat will be easy to wipe down and keep clean, and some are even machine washable. However, you should also check that the cover is impermeable so that any liquid cannot seep down into the foam.
Moreover, you should ensure that the material is antimicrobial, as this will ensure the utmost hygiene.
If the user needs to walk over the mat to get in and out of bed, without an anti-slip bottom, there is a risk of the mat moving around. The can be a trip hazard, and so you should always make sure that there is an anti-slip backing that will ensure the mat stays firmly in place.
You will need to consider the mobility needs of the user as some fall mats may not be suitable for wheelchair users.
Those using a wheelchair or a wheeled walker will need to look for a mat that has beveled edges as this will make it safer to move across and won’t affect the stability of the wheeled mobility aid.
Thickness & Weight
Thicker mats will absorb more shock as a person falls on them, and this means that they will be more effective in preventing injuries. This is especially important if you are buying a fall mat for someone who is particularly fragile; perhaps a person with osteoporosis.
What’s more, a thicker mat will be heavier, which means that the edges are less likely to curl, reducing the potential of the mat becoming a trip hazard. You’ll also find that thicker mats are also more likely to stay in place than something flimsy and thin.
Best Bed Fall Mats for Seniors
There is a great selection of fall mats currently on the market, so after weighing up your options in terms of what you need, you’ll find that some of the following products more than exceed your expectations.
1. Drive Medical Tri-Fold Bedside Mat
This is an excellent option for people who are limited on storage or who need to travel, as the tri-fold design ensures the mat can be made as compact as possible. What’s more, it’s lightweight and so easy to carry.
But this lightweight design doesn’t affect the stability of the mat, thanks to a non-slip back. The cover is made from vinyl and offers durability as well as being very easy to keep clean. Being waterproof, it’s a good option for people who struggle with incontinence. Inside, the mat features a high-density foam that offers excellent shock absorbency.
- Mat dimensions: 30″ (W) X 72″ (L) X 2″ (H)
- Mat weight: 3 lbs
- Cover material: waterproof vinyl
2. Vive Fall Mat
Suitable for use on any surface and with a sturdy rubber back, this mat is one of the safest we have seen. It covers the full length of a standard bed and features an HD PU foam inner for maximum impact absorbency.
The Viva fall mat boasts beveled edges, making it ideal for people using wheeled mobility aids. This design feature also proves to be less of a trip hazard when walking on the mat. The mat has a PVC leather cover that is easy to clean and hygienic.
- Mat dimensions: 24″ (W) X 72″ (L) X 0.88″ (H)
- Mat weight: 9.4 lbs
- Cover material: PVC leather
3. Drive Medical Safetycare Floor Mat
One of the best features of the Drive Medical floor mat is that it boasts a Masongard waterproof cover making it very easy to stay hygienic. What’s more, the internal PU foam ensures excellent shock absorbency.
This is a bi-folding design that makes storing that mat much easier as well as being suitable for traveling. The major downside to this fall mat, however, is that it is significantly shorter than the length of an average bed at just 66 inches.
- Mat dimensions: 24″ (W) X 66″ (L) X 2″ (H)
- Mat weight: 4.7 lbs
- Cover material: waterproof vinyl
4. Secure SBSM-1 Bedside Floor Safety Mat
If you’re looking for something that will cover a little more floor space, then this 30-inch wide fall mat will be suitable. It not only benefits from a greater size but is also a tri-folding mat that is incredibly compact for storage and travel.
The mat features an easy-to-clean cover so things will always be hygienic, and the base is slip-resistant, making this incredibly safe and stable. However, we should point out that, owing to the bounciness of this mat, some users may find it challenging to walk on.
- Mat dimensions: 30″ (W) X 66″ (L) X 2″ (H)
- Mat weight: 7.7 lbs
- Cover material: waterproof vinyl
5. Medacure Bed Safety Fall Mat
This mat boasts a triple-layer design that begins with an anti-slip back, followed by extremely resilient PU foam on the inside. The third layer is a PVC leather top that makes the mat easy to clean and comfortable to walk on.
The edges are angled, making this the ideal mat for people using wheelchairs or rollators, and the thin base doesn’t pose a challenge when moving over it. In terms of durability, this is one of the best out there and the mat is designed not to weaken or depress over time.
- Mat dimensions: 24″ (W) X 70″ (L) X 0.75″ (H)
- Mat weight: 10 lbs
- Cover material: PVC leather