The Hospital Bed Safety Work Group has identified three areas in which healthcare providers can minimize the risks and hazards associated with bed rail usage. These three categories are 1) nursing, 2) medical, and 3) patient/family.
The report provides a list of items that nursing staff can undertake to minimize risk, such as:
- Providing individually scheduled toileting,
- Developing an individual schedule for turning and positioning a patient in his or her bed, and
- Elevating the head of the bed for patients with congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and acid reflux.
Under the medical category, the list includes:
- Minimizing the use of medications that alter mental status (such as prescription painkillers like oxycodone or hydrocodone or anti-anxieties such as Xanax/alprazolam),
- Using alternatives to sleeping medications,
- Treating pain, and
- Promoting mobility and fitness (e.g., using rehabilitative care to enhance abilities to stand safely and to walk).
For the ways patient/family can decrease the risk associated with bed rails, the reports list includes:
- Seeking and utilizing input about the patient from the patient and family (or the patient’s guardian) to assist in identifying nursing and medical risk interventions; and
- Promoting the family to become informed and educated about the safety and risks associated with bed rail usage.
The complete list, which can be found on page nine of the report, is far more inclusive. But the take away point is if healthcare facilities take into account the specificity and unique medical challenges each patient faces, then the facility can take proactive measures to minimize the risk associated with bed rails.
By treating each patient on a case-by-case basis, safety-conscious facilities will be less prone to assumptions and generalizations. And this can make the difference between life and death.
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– Bed Rail Safety Guidelines: Part 8 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.