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Bed rails may cause harm to long-term care residents

January 10, 2013
by Sandra Hoban, Executive Editor
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Between 1985 and 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received 828 incident reports of bed entrapment, entanglement or strangulation. Most of the incidents involved elderly, frail or confused people.

While bed rails can keep a long-term care resident from falling out of bed and assist him or her with repositioning in bed, there are still risks of entrapment, according to a report on The FDA suggests that beds could be lowered with mats placed around to absorb impact if a resident does fall. Bed manufacturers claim that the beds become unsafe when components—beds, mattresses, rails—are mixed with similar components from other brands.

While the FDA and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) are aware of the injuries and deaths caused by bed rails, each feels the other group is responsible for the oversight. However, the CPSC is conducting a study on bed rail injuries and deaths and hopes to provide information to manufacturers and providers on how to avoid these events.

The FDA offers guidelines for bed and bed rail safety, including a toolkit.


 Related articles: Reducing the risk of accidental hangings, entrapment,

 Bed Safety: Preventing Fires Caused by Hospital Beds, FDA Bed Safety Guidance: Mitigating Risk

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