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Bed Rail Injuries

Bed Rail Injuries

While bed rails are designed to secure patients and prevent them from falling off their beds, they are also dangerous. Every year, thousands of nursing home residents injure themselves due to unsafe bed rails.

According to the FDA and Consumer Product Safety Commission, over half of all bed rail incidents resulted in death and approximately 4,000 elderly patients visited emergency rooms for injuries every year. Since 1995, there have been approximately 550 nursing home resident deaths due to bed rails.

The Dangers of Bed Rails Used in Nursing Homes

The most common reason way bed rails cause injuries to nursing home residents is when they get lodged in the space between the rail and mattress. Residents are typically much older and frailer, which means they might not be strong enough to pull or move themselves out of the gap.

How Do Bed Rails Injure Residents?

As the weight of their bodies causes them to sink further into the space, their chest cavity compresses, causing them to lose their ability to breathe. Fatalities can be caused by asphyxiation or cardiac arrest due to feeling trapped and increased stress.

Other bed rail injures occur when patients become confused or disoriented and they attempt to roll over the rails and off the bed. Falling off the bed from this height can lead to broken bones and severe fractures.

What You Can Do Prevent Bed Rail Injuries

Whenever you visit a loved one in a nursing home, you should check the bed and the rails to ensure that they are safe. Push the mattress as far from the bed rails as possible. If you can stick four fingers or more in between the mattress and the rails, then the bed is considered unsafe. Sometimes bed rails for home use don’t match the mattresses they are sold with.

In addition, most patients can be in bed safely without bed rails, so consider the following:

  • Use beds which can be raised or lowered close to the floor to accommodate both nursing home resident and worker.
  • Have the bed in the lowest position with the wheels locked.
  • If a patient is at risk of falling or rolling over the bed, position mats next to the bed.
  • Monitor patients more frequently.
  • Use transfer or mobility aids.
  • Anticipate the reasons why residents get out of bed, such as thirst, hunger, using the restroom, pain or restlessness – then meet their needs.

If your loved one suffered a bed rail injury in a nursing home in Connecticut, request a free consultation with our Hamden nursing home injury attorney at Sette & Parnoff, PC today.


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