FDA: Bed Rails Fatal Risk for Nursing Home Residents

Many Virginia families think the easiest and safest way to keep a loved one in a nursing home from getting out of bed in the middle of the night is to ask for the installation of bed rails.

On the other hand, some nursing homes in Roanoke and elsewhere use bed rails to keep those same patients from getting out of bed and, at the same time, save the money needed to have enough nurses working in the facility to watch out for those very same residents.

In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned nursing homes and hospitals about the risk of injury and death caused by bed rails.  The FDA received reports of 691 cases of entrapment (head, neck, chest, legs) involving patients and bed rails….including 413 deaths.

Despite evidence available to nursing homes and hospitals since 1985 and even the FDA’s warning in 2006, reports of unnecessary injury and death continue to occur.

Take the story of Clara Marshall who suffered from the effects of dementia.

As a result, her family moved Clara into an assisted living facility in Vancouver, Washington.  But just five months into her stay, Clara, was found dead in her room apparently strangled after getting her neck caught in side rails used to prevent her from rolling out of bed.

My Take:  These types of tragedies do not need to occur and families should educate themselves about the use of bed rails in Virginia nursing homes.

Dan Frith

Dan Frith

Dan Frith has over 25 years of experience representing individuals and families in cases of medical malpractice throughout Virginia. He has been named "Best Medical Malpractice Attorney" by Roanoker Magazine and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. To speak with Dan, contact him by email at dfrith@frithlawfirm.com.