Hundreds of injuries have been caused by Health Regulators who have failed to issue safety warnings about the dangers posed by bed rails.
Bed rails are actually designed to keep patients safe in their beds, namely older patients in assisted living Nursing Homes and Hospital settings. These rails extend along the beds. For many patients who are prone to roll out of bed for various reasons these beds could be a life-saver but for many more patients each year they become a serious health hazard.
In the USA there were about 4000 injuries that required emergency room care that were blamed on bed rails in 2011. Among them, about 150 people died as a result of being trapped in a bed rail. Most of the injuries were among elderly people often in controlled setting like Hospitals or Nursing Homes.
If a patient falls out of a bed with certain type of bed rail, they would become trapped in the openings through the rails causing them to suffocate or suffer other serious injuries depending on how they become trapped.
US Health Authorities issued a warning about the potential hazards of bed rails in 1995. However they have refused to require that safety labels be placed on the devices.
Newer model bed rails are aimed at preventing many of these injuries and some healthcare facilities have made their Employees aware of these potential dangers. This has led to a reduction in the rate of injuries blamed on bed rails since 1995. However, many Hospitals and Nursing Homes in Ireland still rely on older model rails.
Speaking about the dangers posed by bed rails, Liam Moloney, Heath care Solicitor said today “while it is accepted that bed rails are designed to keep patients safe in their beds they can cause serious injury to patients. The IMB should immediately confirm the number of incidents that have been reported arising from use of bed rails in Irish Nursing Homes and Hospitals”.