Health agency warns of ‘death by hospital bed’

OTTAWA—Health Canada is warning hospitals and other health-care facilities about the risk of entrapment of patients in hospital after three people died and several were injured.

OTTAWA – Health Canada is warning hospitals and other health-care facilities about the risk of entrapment of patients in hospital after three people died and several were injured.

In a notice to hospitals issued Monday, the health agency says 12 incidents have been reported of patients becoming trapped in hospital beds since 2009, including three deaths.

Four similar deaths were reported between 2007 and 2009.

The notice says unprotected side rails and unfitted mattresses are the main hazards for patients, while beds made prior to the year 2000 are identified as being particularly problematic.

Eight out of the 12 cases of injuries and deaths have occurred in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, while three incidents happened in hospitals and one at home.

Health Canada says in one incident, a patient became trapped in the opening between the split side rails of a Stryker Model FL14E1 long-term care electric bed, which is no longer manufactured but is still in use.

The agency advises health-care facilities that still use beds made before 2000 to contact manufacturers for advice on reducing entrapment hazards, including using covers to fit over the gaps between rails and ensuring that replacement mattresses are the correct size for the bed frame.




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Health agency warns of ‘death by hospital bed’

  1. The use of side rails in adults is NEVER a good idea and this article just shows one more reason why this is true. A side rail is useful in a toddler bed because little kids fall out of bed when they are sleeping. Adults almost NEVER fall out of bed while they are sleeping. Side rails are seen as a deterrant to stop confused/drugged adults from climbing out of bed. Instead they become a danger because the confused and drugged adults still crawl out of the bed and now they crawl OVER the side rails and get caught between the side rails. They also fall. Some people even have the ridiculous notion of putting the bed in its highest position to further deter patients from getting out of bed. HUGE recipe for disaster.
    If patients are confused and unsafe in a bed, take the mattress off the bed, put the mattress on the floor and remove the bed from the room. No patient ever injured themselves by rolling off a mattress a few inches onto a floor.

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