The Trade-Off: Low Entry v Full Nursing Height Bed

Why choose a low entry bed?

Safety MatSide rails have been used for many years on nursing beds to reduce the risk of a fall from the bed. However there are some additional considerations. If the user is mobile and able to climb over the side rail, there may be a risk of them causing themselves even greater injury than had they just fallen from mattress height. There is also the issue under human rights legislation where the use of side rails restrict the user’s right to leave the bed.

Low entry beds offer the advantage of eliminating the need for side rails for most of the time. Side rails are only raised when the bed has been raised to facilitate nursing care. At other times the bed can be lowered to a height which minimises the risk of injury from a fall. A bed is considered low entry if the mattress platform can be lowered to below 30cm (typically 20 – 22cm). A foam safety mat can also be used on the floor alongside the bed to further reduce the risk of injury.


However Low Entry beds are not without their disadvantages. The most obvious trade-off is that no low entry bed will conform to the minimum under-bed clearance of 15cm which is required under European guidelines. The guideline is there to reduce the risk of the legs of hoisting equipment damaging motors and other components on the bed’s undercarriage. It is therefore recommended that hoisting is only performed while the bed platform is raised. Secondly, and more importantly from a back care perspective, many low entry beds do not come up to the full nursing height of 80cm. This leaves care workers exposed to the risk of back injury.

Allura - height rangeIt is important to remember these points when drawing up tender specifications for low entry beds. Stating in the specification that the bed must conform to British or European standards will immediately rule out most, if not all, of the low entry beds on the market. Equipment review teams should also perform a risk analysis before excluding the relevant clauses from the bed standards in relation to under-bed clearance or maximum platform height.

The issue surrounding full nursing height is a major concern for back care advisors. Whilst procedures may be drawn up to deal with hoisting from a low entry bed, the issues surrounding nursing height are much more problematic. Care workers for any individual are different in height and may change over time, or even be randomly selected by a care agency. It is therefore not practical to perform a risk assessment for an individual user as the circumstances of their care is subject to change.

There are low entry beds available which will come up to full nursing height, however they tend to be more complex in design and therefore more expensive. Therefore these beds are usually excluded from the start due to budget restrictions.

All round solutions

Lisclare offer two low entry beds which come up to full nursing height and, because of their simple design, keep costs down:


Sierra Low Entry Nursing BedThis bed’s remarkably innovative but simple design delivers excellent low entry performance (22cm) whilst rising to a full nursing height of 80cm. It’s simple design keeps the cost down.

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Allura - low entryThis bed is of a standard design, but solves the problem by using a longer hi-lo motor. With a safe working load of 250kg, this bed is also suitable for Plus Size (bariatric) clients. A range of bed widths are also available including the standard 90cm wide, an over-sized 100cm width and a king size 120cm. It’s standard design will be familiar to equipment service loan store staff and make it robust as well as easy to service, assemble and transport, this prevents many procurement teams from standardising on one bed to cover all requirements.

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Ensuring Conformance

TUV RheinlandAll our beds have been tested in accordance with British and European standards. We are very open about this and our technical files, including test reports or certificates from third party testing houses (such as the European testing house TUV) are available for inspection. Please be aware that constantly increasing price competition has resulted in many beds appearing on the market without being properly tested. It is in the interests of your users to verify manufacturers claims rather than taking their word for it.

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