Earlier we discussed forms of elder abuse. Another form of elder abuse is the dangerous conditions maintained by some caregivers who neglect their responsibilities for keeping seniors and disabled individuals safe. In recent months, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) addressed the issue of adult bedrails and vulnerable adults.

In San Diego and across the country every day, elderly and disabled individuals spend a great part of their day in bed. In home settings or nursing facilities, caregivers must create and maintain safe environments for adults suffering incapacity. At home, many relatives are unaware of dangers posed to fragile adults by seemingly-helpful bedrails.

In October 2012, the CPSC undertook a review of adult bedrail accidents reported between January 2003 and September 2012. The results of that review reveal the danger of bedrails and the need for greater oversight of their use.

  • During the survey period, 155 fatalities and five additional accidents were reported
  • Age range of victims was 14 to 103 years of age, with a predominant number of victims over age 60
  • Most victims suffered a medical condition like cardiovascular disease, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease, among others
  • Most injuries occur at home, in nursing homes, assisted living and hospice facilities
  • Almost all fatal incidents were caused by entrapment between rails, or other parts of the bed rail, or by a fall related to the bed rail

Keep relatives safe by ensuring bed parts are high quality and fit tightly. There should be no significant gap between a mattress, bed frame and bed rail. A width of four fingers between mattress and bedrail is sufficient to entrap an adult.

Neglect or mistake, dangerous bed rails cause wrongful death each year. Between 2003 and 2011, 36,000 portable bed rail accidents resulted in emergency room treatment across the United States. If your loved one uses a bed rail, make sure they are not vulnerable to injury — or worse.

By Kevin Quinn

Posted in Personal Injury