Charlotte, NC- For a weak or disabled elderly person, a fall from a bed can have dreadful consequences. They can suffer broken bones and brain or spinal injuries so many people the best way to prevent injuries caused by a fall from bed is to use bed rails. While a bed rail can prevent some falls, there is evidence that instead of making a nursing home resident safer, these devices can actually put them in danger.

Bed rails are common sights in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. These devices are supposed to give elderly people more mobility when they are in bed and are used to keep them from falling out of bed. While a bed rail can be an effective safety tool, the device can also cause injury or death if improperly installed or if the staff of a nursing home doesn’t check on their residents regularly.

Since 1985, the Federal Drug Administration has received over 900 reports of elderly or disabled people who have been trapped, strangled or entangled in the bed rail. Also, the agency has received over 500 reports of people dying as a result of a bed rail.

Residents of nursing home who suffer from dementia or other cognitive disorders or residents who are petite are more likely to suffer injury or death as a result of a bed rail. When these patients get caught between a rail and their bed, they may be too weak or confused to free themselves and can smother as a result. Nursing home residents can also be seriously injured if they climb over the rail and fall to the floor.

Elder advocates and safety watchdogs see the most risk with portable the bed rails which are typically additions which are not flush to the mattress. There is often a gap that a resident can get caught in. According to the Journal of the American Geriatric Society, nursing home resident’ shave died because their chests or necks became compressed between a mattress and bed rail.

It would be ideal if the staff at a nursing home could watch our loved ones every moment of the day to assure they aren’t harmed by a bed rail, but that simply isn’t feasible. If a nursing home’s negligence however, had played a role in an injurious or deadly bed rail accident, the victim should consult with a nursing home negligence attorney to decide whether they have grounds to pursue compensation.

Many North Carolina nursing homes are understaffed and as a consequence, their patients suffer. Falls frequently occur when a patient needs to go to the bathroom or needs help out of bed and no staff is available or willing to help them. When your elderly loved one has lost their lives or incurred an injury because of a negligent nursing home, a North Carolina nursing home abuse attorney will protect their  rights and work to get them a settlement that is generous and just.