Bed Rails Pose Safety Risk to Nursing Home Patients in Illinois and Beyond

Anyone who has a loved one in a nursing home dreads a phone call from the nursing home. Residents are usually elderly and often sick, and injuries and deaths are common among nursing home residents. However, one risk may be an unexpected one: the safety risk of bed rails.

Hospital RoomBed rails are used in nursing homes to prevent residents from falling out of bed, to help them get in and out of bed more easily, and to help them reposition themselves more easily. Yet many people are unaware of the risks. The risks include scrapes and bruising from hitting the hard rails, more serious injuries from falls if a resident tries to climb over the rails, and strangling or suffocation if a resident becomes caught between the rails and the mattress.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that from 1985 to 2009, there were 803 incidents reported of patients caught, trapped, strangled, or entangled in beds with rails. About 480 of those patients died as a result. The Food and Drug Administration recommends only using bed rails when necessary and engaging in ongoing evaluation and monitoring to optimize safety.

Nursing Home Resident Suffocates after Becoming Trapped Between Bed Rails and Mattress

According to one news source, a nursing home resident died after her neck became trapped between the bed rails and her mattress. The woman was found 40 minutes later. The 91-year-old resident had reportedly suffered falls in the past and was very weak. Before this incident, she had been found on the ground after falling out of her bed, even when she had a bed rail.

The state’s health commissioner said that all nursing homes should review their use of bed rails to assess the risks and benefits. He stated that nursing homes are responsible for caring for vulnerable adults and that “a death like this is totally unacceptable.” The state investigated the death and found that the nursing home was at fault because the home failed to conduct the necessary assessment of the woman’s case to determine whether or not she required a bed rail. In this case, the home did not assess her need for a bed rail after she fell previously or add any additional precautions to prevent her from falling.

A study on the safety of bed rails found that their risks overall outweighed the benefits, and the only people who should use them were those who were cognitively intact and able to move around on their own.

Has Your Loved One Suffered an Injury in an Illinois Nursing Home?

Do you have a loved one who suffered an injury at a nursing home? If so, the nursing home may have been negligent in providing care to your loved one. If someone was injured in a nursing home, you may have grounds to pursue a claim for compensation. The Chicago attorneys at Moll Law Group can help you explore the scope of your options. We represent nursing home residents and their families in Naperville, Schaumburg, Wheaton, and communities across Cook County. Call us at 312-462-1700 or contact us through our online form to schedule a free consultation.

See More Posts:

Recent Study Highlights Risks of Emergency Surgeries, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, May 18, 2016.

Court Finds Nursing Home Waived Its Right to Arbitration Despite Signed Arbitration Clause, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, June 13, 2016.

Court Dismisses Case After Failure to Pay Filing Fee Within Statute of Limitations, Illinois Injury Lawyer Blog, June 25, 2016.