Most nursing home bed safety rail injuries are easily prevented. Unfortunately, there are very few government regulations on how to use bed rails safely. Nursing homes have to form their own bed rail safety standards.
Bed rails, bed safety rails and bed side rails are usually made of metal and attach to the sides of hospital beds in medical facilities as well as in nursing homes. Their purposes varies depending on the patient. Some bed rails are ordered to prevent patients for rolling off the bed and injuring themselves and others to help patients safely enter and exit a bed. While their purpose is to improve bed safety and protect elderly residents they can actually be dangerous and cause significant injury, including death.
How do Bed Rail Injuries Occur?
Bed side rail injuries occur in a variety of circumstances. Most patients that experience bed safety rail injuries are frail, elderly, and have a cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
One of the most common causes of a bed rail injury in a nursing home occurs when an elderly patient falls into the gap between the mattress and the bed rail. This can happen for a number of reasons. A resident could simply roll into the space between the bed side rail and the mattress while they are sleeping. They could fall in that space while attempting to get out bed by climbing over the bed rail. Often times elderly nursing home residents lack the strength to pull their body out of the space between the bed rail and mattress after they fall. Other times they are not even aware that they are trapped between the bed rail and mattress due medication or cognitive impairment. Getting wedged in this space can quickly lead to suffocation injuries. Bed safety rail entrapment accidents can result in fatalities if a patient is not discovered in time.
Other injuries occur when patients become disoriented and unsure exactly where they are. If they feel confined or trapped, they may attempt to roll themselves over the bed rail or climb over the bed safety rail. Falling to the floor from that height can cause severe injuries to a frail elderly person including hip fractures, pelvic fractures, head injuries like subdural hematomas, and other fall injuries.
Additionally, patients that depend on bed rails for support to get in and out of bed, steady their balance, or reposition their body while in bed can be seriously injured if a bed rail has not been assembled and attached properly by nursing home staff.
Can Bed Rail Injuries be Prevented?
Most bed rail injuries are easily prevented. Unfortunately, there are very few government regulations on how to use bed rails safely. Nursing homes have to form their own bed rail safety standards. However, nursing homes often times misused bed rails by attaching them to mattresses or beds that they were not designed for. Nursing home staff can also improperly disassemble and reassemble bed rails.
Regardless of the reason for a bed rail injury, many of them can be prevented by having an appropriate bed rail safety protocol in place for nursing home staff to follow. Continuous patient evaluation is often required to ensure that bed rails are only used for patients that can benefit from them.
When you visit a loved one in a nursing home, you should inspect both the bed and bed rails to make sure they are safe. You can do a bed rail safety check yourself. First push the mattress as far from the bed rails as possible. Once that is done try to put four fingers in between the mattress and the bed rail. If you cannot fit four fingers into that space then there is not enough room for your loved one to get entrapped. That is a safe bed.
When appropriate steps are not taken to prevent bed rail injuries, a nursing home may be liable for any resulting injuries. If you believe a loved one has been injured in a nursing home bed rail accident call our office and we will investigate the case for you to determine if you or your loved one is entitled to compensation.
Massachusetts Nursing Home Bed Rail Accidents Personal Injury Attorneys
If you believe your loved one suffered a bed rail 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.
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.
Massachusetts Elder Abuse and Nursing Home Neglect Personal Injury Attorneys. Free Consultation. No fee if no recovery.
The National Center on Elder Abuse states that onl...
Elders with dementia are thought to be at greater ...
When people think of nursing home or elder abuse, ...
Respiratory tract infections like influenza and pn...
Roughly half of every nursing home resident in the...