Three steps can help prevent injury or death related to adult bed rails, according to a new poster made available by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Nursing, maintenance, custodial and other employees may find this information helpful:
- Consider whether use of a bed rail is appropriate for those in your care.
- Ensure that the bed rail is properly installed.
- Check daily for rail slippage and gaps, which can cause entrapment.
From January 1985 to January 2013, 531 adults died because they were caught, trapped, entangled or strangled in hospital bed rails, according to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data cited on the poster. Most of those people were frail, elderly and confused.
From January 2003 to September 2012, 155 deaths occurred associated with portable bed rails for adults, according to CPSC data. Ninety-three percent of the cases involved rail entrapment, and most of the affected adults were aged 60 or more years.
A Spanish language version of the poster also is available.
Source: Lois A. Bowers