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The Dangers of Resident Bed Rails in Nursing Homes—Bed Rail Safety Guidelines (Part 8 of 9)

The “Clinical Guidance for the Assessment and Implementation of Bed Rails” has determined:

[If] bed rails are required and that other environmental or treatment considerations…were unsuccessful in meeting the patient’s assessed needs, then close attention must be given to the design of the rails and the relationship between rails and other parts of the bed.

This nine-point list is meant to provide general guidelines regarding the implementation and maintenance of resident bed rails.

  1. The bars within the bed rails should be closely spaced to prevent a patient’s head from passing through the openings and becoming entrapped.
  2. The mattress to bed rail interface should prevent an individual from falling between the mattress and bed rails and possibly smothering.
  3. Care should be taken that the mattress does not shrink over time or after cleaning, such shrinkage increases the potential space between the rails and the mattress.
  4. Check for compression of the mattresses outside perimeter. Easily compressed perimeters can increase the gaps between the mattress and the bed rail.
  5. Ensure that the mattress is appropriately sized for the selected bed frame, as not all beds and mattresses are interchangeable.
  6. The space between the bed rails and the mattress and the headboard and the mattress should be filled either by an added firm inlay or a mattress that creates an interface with the bed rail that prevents an individual from falling between the mattress and bed rails.
  7. Latches securing bed rails should be stable so that the bed rails will not fall when shaken.
  8. Older bed rail designs that have tapered or winged ends are not appropriate for use with patients assessed to be at risk for entrapment.
  9. Maintenance and monitoring of the bed, mattress, and accessories such as patient/caregiver assist items should be ongoing.

If you are or a loved one utilizes bed rails as part of your care plan, this nine-point list will help determine if you or your loved one’s healthcare providers are safely following the established safe use of bed rails.

To learn more, please check out our recent series of blogs discussing The Dangers of Resident Bed Rails in Nursing Homes:

  • The Dangers of Resident Bed Rails in Nursing Homes–An Overview: Part 1 of 9
  • The Dangers of Resident Bed Rails in Nursing Homes–Rates of Incidence: Part 2 of 9
  • The Dangers of Resident Bed Rails in Nursing Homes–Types of Bed Rails: Part 3 of 9
  • The Dangers of Resident Bed Rails in Nursing Homes—Anatomy of Entrapment Part 4 of 9
  • The Dangers of Resident Bed Rails in Nursing Homes–Guiding Principles Regarding the Safe use of Bed Rails: Part 5 of 9
  • The Dangers of Resident Bed Rails in Nursing Homes–Policy Considerations Part 6 of 9
  • The Dangers of Resident Bed Rails in Nursing Homes–Risk Intervention: Part 7 of 9
  • The Dangers of Resident Bed Rails in Nursing Homes–Conclusion: Part 9 of 9

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care, including the improper use of side rails. If you believe your loved one has been harmed because a nursing home and its employees cut corners, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no cost, no-obligation consultation.