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Bed Rail Safety Tips for Your Loved One

Submitted by Anonymous on Aug 13th, 2009

The side rails of a hospital bed have long been an issue in nursing homes and hospitals but not a hot topic. But, poorly monitored and checked beds can result in injury and even death. Considering these beds are not only used in hospitals but also out-patient care centers, long-term care facilities and also in private homes, this becomes an important bit of information to spread around.

The Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) reports there over 2.5 million hospital beds in use just within the United States alone and the center regulates these beds.

When a patient becomes trapped between the bed and the bed rails or side rails, it is called entrapment. This usually happens because the mattress is unsuited for the frame and a space is created between the bed rail and the mattress, leaving an area for the patient to become trapped in. Although it is not a very common incident, when it does happen, it is usually fatal.

Here are some zones to watch for potential issues:
1. within the rail
2. under the rail, between the rail supports or next to a single rail support
3. between the rail and the mattress
4. between the rail, at the ends of the rail
5. between split bed rails
6. between the end of the rail and the side edge of the head or foot board
7. between the head or foot board and the mattress end

The FDA has created a consumer health information sheet on practicing hospital bed safety and it can be downloaded free from their site.