Is there an adult crib that will prevent my father from getting out of bed and reinjuring his broken hip?

Tpburns asked...

My dad is 100 years old and has dementia. He broke his hip, and underwent hip replacement. The problem is every twenty minutes or so, he tries to walk, forgetting he has a broken hip. Is there an adult crib that will prevent him from getting out of bed?


Expert Answer

Laura Cheney, a physical therapist who specializes in geriatrics, graduated with honors from the University of California at San Francisco in 2000. She loves her job working as the sole physical therapist at a premier life-care facility in San Francisco. She has written articles and lectured extensively on fall prevention and other issues relevant to the aging experience. As a registered yoga teacher, she teaches yoga, meditation, and other mindfulness techniques to seniors -- helping them expand their repertoire for coping with stress, pain, and illness in the later years.

I empathize with your situation. It's very difficult to keep someone safe who has good physical mobility but poor cognition. There are different kinds of "restraints" that can help to keep your dad safe, that are commonly used in medical settings. Keep in mind, however, that there are a lot of legal issues around using restraints and they are highly regulated due to the risk of injury to the patient. Using them can be considered elder abuse if you don't do so with a physician's order. In fact, in the United States the law states that most involuntary restraints can only be used with a physician's order. If your dad is living at home I would ask his doctor about your options. If he’s in a skilled nursing facility it is best to speak with the nursing director. Just to give you an idea, restraints that can be used while the patient is in bed range from the use of bedrails to prevent them from rolling out of bed, to "posey vests" which are soft vests that can be tied to a chair or bed rail. In a wheelchair, a lap belt or lap tray can be used to keep the patient from getting up out of the wheelchair and injuring themselves. There are options available to help keep your dad safe. I advise that you speak to the physician. He or she can prescribe the safest type of restraint and make sure you are acting within the law.