The New York Times recently published an expose that questions whether beds in nursing homes are safe for nursing home residents. They discussed the death of one patient who found with his neck entrapped between the mattress and the bedrail. The patient wrongfully died from asphyxiation. The family filed a nursing home neglect lawsuit against the hospice organization, the manufacturer of the bed and the medical equipment vendor.
While bedrails are supposed to be safety devices, experts believe that they oftentimes create more problems than they solve. Rails decrease a patient’s risk of falling by 10 to 15 percent, yet they increase the risk of injury by about 20 percent. This happens when confused or demented patients who try to climb over the rails fall from a lower level and land on their knees or legs. These patients are then apt to fall further and strike their heads. However, the biggest danger is entrapment. Nursing home residents can get stuck within the rails or between the rail and the mattress. The FDA had tallied 480 deaths and 138 injuries from nursing home bedrail entrapment incidents. A resident can roll into the slot next to the rail, which slides the mattress to the opposite side. The patient will drop to the gap causing the mattress to press against his/her chest making it impossible to breathe.
The Chicago nursing home lawyers at Levin & Perconti recently reached a settlement in a nursing home bedrail entrapment death. The victim’s family was awarded $570,000 in the case. To read about this incident of nursing home neglect in Chicago follow the hyperlink.