Hospital Bed Safety Rails and Alarms Ineffective, Experts Say
Falling down is one of the most common causes of injury and death among those 65 and older. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that every year, millions of senior citizens are injured because of falls, and many of these accidents result in death.
Oftentimes, these falls take place in medical facilities. In order to combat this, many hospitals and nursing homes implemented safety measures, such as installing safety rails on beds and using alarms that are designed to let medical professionals know when patients are trying to get out of bed when they are not supposed to.
However, research indicates that these measures may not be effective. There have been many complaints about the problems associated with bed safety rails, including the fact that patients have died after getting caught between the railing and the mattress of the bed, which results in them getting asphyxiated. The problem has become so widespread that the Consumer Product Safety Commission is currently investigating the safety of these products.
In addition, the effectiveness of hospital alarms is being looked at by experts. In a study that was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers compared the number of falls in nursing homes that use these alarms versus those that do not, and found that the use of these alarms has not significantly contributed to patient safety. Researchers found that the facilities that use the alarms had 5.62 patient falls per 1,000 patients, while those that did not have the alarms had 4.56 falls per 1,000 patients.
Although many medical facilities have spent a lot of money in order to install bed alarms, researchers say that, much like the alarms that are in vehicles, these systems are easy to ignore in a busy hospital.
Common causes of nursing home falls
Nursing home falls can be caused by several factors, including mistakes with the medication that patients are given, poor training of the staff, patient neglect from the staff, and environmental issues including slippery floors and bad lighting in the facility.
No matter what the cause of the fall, the results can be devastating for a nursing home patient. If you, or one of your loved ones, have been injured because of the negligence of a nursing home’s staff, contact a personal injury lawyer who can advise you of your rights and help you hold the facility responsible. In addition, if a loved one has died because of negligence in a nursing home, you may be able to sue the facility for wrongful death.