Nursing Home Bed Rail Entrapment

Bedrail Entrapment Lawyers in Boston

Bed rail entrapment occurs when a patient gets stuck in the space between the bed rail and the mattress. As is the case with many nursing home residents, some elderly people lack the strength to pull themselves out of this area.

 

Bedrail Entrapment Lawyers in BostonWith millions of hospital beds at hospitals and nursing homes throughout the country, bed rails are a familiar sight. Rails, often metal, attach to the side of nursing home beds for various purposes. These bed rails can be portable and installed in a variety of different settings or may be attached to a hospital bed in a medical facility or nursing home.

Sometimes bed rails, safety rails, bed side rails are used to provide a patient support getting into and out of a bed, sometimes they are used to prevent a patient from rolling out of the bed and falling to the ground, and they can also be used to help a resident reposition their body in a bed, or to require a resident with a bed safety plan to call for assistance in order to get out of bed instead of doing it alone without assistance.

However, when they are installed incorrectly, used incorrectly or installed on a the bed they were not designed for, they can pose a significant threat to the safety of an elderly resident. Especially vulnerable to the dangers posed by bed rails are elderly people, including those residing in nursing homes where bed rails are more common. One common type of injury that occurs is known as bed rail entrapment.

What is Bed Rail Entrapment?

Bed rail entrapment occurs when a patient gets stuck in the space between the bed rail and the mattress. As is the case with many nursing home residents, some elderly people lack the strength to pull themselves out of this area.

In addition to anxiety that can occur as a result of feeling trapped, a patient’s natural body weight can often cause them to have difficulty breathing and eventually suffocate them. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) found that out of 155 deaths related to adult portable bed rails reported, 143 involved instances of bed rail entrapment.

11 deaths were related to falls and one death was the result of an individual striking their head on the bed rail. By far, bed rail entrapment was responsible for the bulk of bed-related fatalities.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued the following statement about the dangers of bed side rails:

“It is important to note that side rails present an inherent safety risk, particularly when the patient is elderly or disoriented.  Even when a side rail is not intentionally used as a restraint, patients may become trapped between the mattress or bed frame and the side rail.  Disoriented patients may view a raised side rail as a barrier to climb over, may slide between raised, segmented side rails, or may scoot to the end of the bed to get around a raised side rail.  When attempting to exit the bed by any of these routes, the patient is at risk for entrapment, entanglement, or falling from a greater height posed by the raised side rail, with a possibility for sustaining greater injury or death than if he/she had fallen from the height of a lowered bed without raised side rails.”

Can Bed Rail Entrapment be Prevented?

Yes, it can. You should always check the safety of beds and bed rails whenever you visit your loved one in a nursing home facility by pushing the mattress as far away from the bed rail as possible. A bed rail entrapment hazard exists if you can insert four fingers in between the bed rail and the mattress.

It is important to note that about half of the deaths mentioned above occurred in patients that had other diagnosed medical problems. The most common preexisting conditions included:

  • Cardiovascular disease;
  • Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other mental illness;
  • Seizure; and
  • Mobility limitations or paralysis

The U.S Food and Drug Administration has stated that that bed safety rails are not for every patient and should not be used in every situation. It is important for nursing homes to constantly monitor and evaluate a patient’s medical needs.

Massachusetts Nursing Home Bedrail Entrapment Personal Injury Attorneys

If you believe your loved one suffered a bedrail entrapment accident injury as a result of negligence or carelessness by a nursing home staff member, medical professional, or caregiver, you may be entitled to seek compensation for your loved one.  To find out, contact our experienced nursing home neglect lawyers today for a free consultation.

Nursing Home Neglect Lawyers in Massachusetts


We offer a free, no-obligation legal consultation to help you understand your rights and the value of your case. Our personal injury law firm takes cases involving elder abuse and neglect. We offer legal service to clients in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

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