Bedrails are equipment intended to provide security to a sick, injured, or agitated person. If you have ever visited someone in a Kentucky nursing home or hospital, you have probably seen these metal rails on the side of the bed. The rails can be lowered to allow the patient to leave the bed. 

The relationship of the bedrail to the bed frame and mattress creates a bed system design that allows gaps, in which the patient’s body parts can become trapped. Entrapment can occur when a patient tries to move around in the bed or get out of it without assistance, perhaps because of pain, confusion, delirium, or agitation. Patients who are frail, confused, or restless or who have uncontrollable body movements are most vulnerable to becoming entrapped. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) keeps track of incidents of entrapment, in which patients are caught, trapped, entangled, or strangled in hospital or nursing home beds. Between January 1, 1985, and January 1, 2010, the FDA received 828 reports of such incidents, including 493 deaths, 141 injuries, and 194 cases needing staff intervention to prevent an injury. 

Zones of Entrapment

The FDA designated the most likely “zones of entrapment” as follows:

Zone 1.        Within (between) the bars of the rails: A person’s head or another part of the body gets stuck between the bars of the side rail. Although the space should be small enough to keep the head from fitting, the size of the space may change if the bar or rail becomes loose or damaged.

Zone 2.        Under the bottom rail: The gap between the mattress, which is compressed from the patient’s weight, and the bottom rail between rail supports or next to a single rail support is another danger zone.

Zone 3.        Between the rail and mattress: If the space between the inside of the rail and the mattress is too big, the patient’s head may become stuck.

Zone 4.        Under the rail, at the end of the rail: A person’s neck may become wedged between the mattress and the lowest part of the rail.

Zone 5.        Between split rails: Separate head and foot side rails on the same side of the bed can present a danger if the patient tries to get out of the bed at this point. The neck or chest can get trapped between the two rails. Any V-shaped opening between rails presents a potential risk of being wedged.

Zone 6.        Between the end of the rail and the side edge of the head or foot board: A patient may become entrapped in the space between the end of the side rail and the edge of the head or foot board.

Zone 7.        Between the head or foot board and the end of the mattress: A gap between the head or foot board and the end of the mattress creates a risk of head entrapment if the mattress shifts or is compressed, or if the head or foot board is loose and wobbly. 

Has Your Loved One Been Injured In A Nursing Home?

If you believe your loved one is being subjected to nursing home abuse you need to speak with an experienced Kentucky nursing home neglect attorney as soon as possible. Contact us online or call our office directly at 888.450.4456 to schedule a free consultation.

Matthew L. White
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Founder & Partner of Louisville Personal Injury Law Firm Gray & White Law