Personal Injury Attorney
When an elderly person is placed in a nursing home, their bed will likely have bed rails on the side to prevent them from falling out. Even though they are meant to keep people safe, there are dangers. In fact, bed rails are a significant cause of injury and death in a nursing home.
If your loved one was injured because of a bed rail in a nursing home, call a nursing home lawyer now.
Bed Rail Injury Statistics
- In the U.S., there are at least 5 million beds in nursing homes
- At least half of all bed rail accidents in nursing homes were fatal
- Nearly 4,000 elderly people every year require emergency room treatment because of a bed rail injury
Government agencies who monitor nursing homes have spoken out and said that it is likely that many bed rail injuries are not being reported; therefore, these statistics from the FDA may be higher.
How Bed Rails in Nursing Homes Can Cause an Injury
The most common way for an elderly resident to be injured by a bed rail is after they become lodged between the matress and the rail of the bed. Although the average, healthy adult might be able to get out of this situation, an elderly person who is old, frail, and even on medication, may not. When they fall into this gap, they may lack the strength to pull themselves out.
Over the passing time, the weight of their body may sing further in the space, eventually leading to compression of the chest cavity. Once this happens, breathing may become difficult. If no staff checks on them in this period of time, cardiac arrest or asphyxiation might occur.
As a nursing home lawyer, some of our cases have also involved an elderly patient who was disorientated or chemically restrained and tried to climb or roll over the rails, leading to a fall. Broken bones, fractures, and head injuries are likely.
The Advantages of Bed Rails in Nursing Homes
Bed rails are placed on the sides of beds in a nursing home. These facilities use them because:
- They can prevent the resident from falling out of bed
- They act as a support for the resident
The Disadvantages of Bed Rails in Nursing Homes
The primary reason bed rails can be dangerous is that they are not regulated; therefore, not all resident’s will benefit from them. For over 30 years, there has been monitoring of the injuries and deaths linked to bed rails in nursing homes. Furthermore, a large number of claims and lawsuits have been filed and won with the help of a bed rail nursing home lawyer. However, manufacturing guidelines and safety warnings have not been enforced.
Another risk is that bed rails are not always used with the right bed or mattress. This might be done to reduce costs on part of the nursing home, or after a bed has been disassembled and reassembled repeatedly; thereby, mixing up the different parts.
What You Should Do Following a Bed Rail Injury
If your elderly loved one is in a nursing home, you should check the bed rails and bed to ensure they are safe. On the contrary, if an injury has occurred, and you believe negligence was a factor, you should consult a nursing home negligence lawyer Trenton, NJ trusts as soon as possible.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Davis & Brusca, LLC for their insight into nursing home law and injuries.