For elderly patients in a nursing home, bed rails can be more harmful than helpful. Although they are meant to keep patients from falling out of bed, they can cause serious injury if they become tangled.
Patients who are cognitively impaired or whose movement is restricted are especially at risk. If you have an elderly family member in a nursing home, you need to understand the risk of bed rails before they are used.
Bed rails may be considered a restraint
Bed rails in hospital beds are praised for their ability to provide stability, support and a measure of security for the patient; however, when misused or abused, they can actually lead to serious patient injuries.
Bed rails have been linked to entrapment in the mattress or frame of the bed, strangulation and limb entrapment resulting in broken bones, lacerations and bruises. In addition, they actually increase the risk of falls due to confused patients trying to climb out of bed.
Regulations have been implemented to discourage the overuse of bed rails, and they are considered a restraint as they may limit a resident’s ability to move freely.
When a nursing home patient is at risk of injury, mainly due to neglect or negligence on behalf of staff members, the nursing home can be held liable for any harm. Such is the case if a loved one is entrapped between their mattress and bed rail, a preventable but dangerous situation that the nursing home should have anticipated and taken steps to avoid.
If your loved one has suffered severe harm from being entrapped between their mattress and bed rail while in a nursing home or another medical facility, it’s essential to take legal action as soon as possible. This serves justice for your family and can protect other patients who could be faced with the same negligent circumstances.