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Bed Rail Accidents On The Rise In Washington Nursing Homes

By Walton Law APCDecember 6, 2023February 20th, 2024No Comments

Adult bed rails were initially designed as a safety product but often become anything but– they have caused several injuries as a result of being used incorrectly. Sick, elderly, and frail individuals are most likely to be affected by bed rails. If you or someone you love was affected by a bed rail accident, the experienced and results-driven attorneys at Walton Law, APC can explain your legal rights and fight for compensation. Call us now for assistance with your nursing home accident. 

Basics of Bed Rails 

There are two categories of bed rails: 

  • Hospital bed rails are designed specifically as a medical bed attachment.  
  • Portable bed rails don’t need a prescription to be purchased. It includes any product with handles, grab bars, side rails, and assist bars that are not manufactured for hospital beds. These attachments are usually used in assisted living, nursing homes, and other long-term care facilities.  

Common Types of Bed Rail Injuries in Washington

Entrapment 

Patients can get trapped between the rail and mattress, which can lead to asphyxiation, strangulation, or suffocation. A patient may also get twisted in bedding. In 2022, the CPSC warned the public to stop using portable bed rails made by Metal Tubing USA Inc. and Mobility Transfer Systems Inc. Over 285,000 commercial adult portable bed rails were recalled after the death of three elderly people.  

Entrapment is usually common in elderly that are confused, frail, agitated, or on medication. There is a greater risk if the mattress and rails have gaps. This usually occurs when the rails are matched with mattresses or beds they are not designed for, which is common in a nursing home setting.  

Falls 

Falls usually occur when a patient is disoriented or confused. The patient may attempt to roll or climb over the rails. They may get hurt in trying to get up without assistance. Falls can result in cuts, bruises, scrapes, head injury, and broken bones.  

Laws and Regulations Surrounding Bed Rail Accidents 

Both the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have issued recommendations and guidelines on bed rail safety. The Washington Department of Social Services is responsible for monitoring the licenses of adult care facilities, nursing homes, and other types of long-term community care providers.  

Washington’s Code of Regulations allows for the use of bed rail attachments extending to more than half the length of the bed. The regulations specifically ban the use of portable bed rails extending the full length of the bed. These bed rails can only be used when mentioned in the care plan of hospice patients. 

According to a report by the US Food and Drug Administration, over 138 nonfatal injuries and 480 deaths were linked between 1985 and 2009 to accidents caused by bed rails. You need a knowledgeable nursing home injury attorney with solid experience on your side.  

Choose a Results-Driven Injury Law Firm with a Track Record of Successful Settlements and Verdicts 

The seasoned and proven Washington nursing home injury attorney at Walton Law treats every bed rail injury and death as unique. Schedule your free and confidential consultation with us today. Call (360) 543-1010 or write to us online.