Bedrail Entrapment Injuries in Omaha Nursing Homes
Nursing Home Abuse Services
The risk of injury can increase drastically as we age, which is why we should expect high levels of care from nursing homes and their staff. Not only should doctors and staff be fully trained to quickly respond to a resident’s needs, but the facility itself should be properly inspected for safety hazards and, when identified, fixed immediately. However, while you may assume a nursing home should prevent standard hazards like slip and falls, there is also the risk of bedrail entrapments.
Bedrail entrapments are often the fault of negligent nursing home staff failing to install bedrails and allowing residents to become stuck between the bed and the railing. This can lead to traumatic injuries from broken bones, severe falls, head injuries, and even asphyxiation. If your loved one was injured in a bedrail entrapment due to a negligent nursing home, then you may be able to pursue a claim against the facility. To do so, you will need to work with an experienced Omaha nursing home neglect attorney at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. Our legal team can launch an in-depth investigation into your case and advocate for proper compensation for your loved one’s injuries. To get started, schedule a free consultation by calling our office at (402) 505-8234.
Bedrails are designed to protect patients in medical beds, ensuring that they do not fall out of bed when they are being moved between rooms or when they are asleep. Oftentimes, these devices are used for nursing home residents who have physical disabilities or mobility issues that limit their range of motion. Without a secured bedrail, a resident could fall and seriously injure themselves.
However, this is only true when bedrails are correctly installed and used. Not every bedrail is created equally, and incorrectly installing the wrong type can present certain dangers to residents. If there is too much space between the bed and the rail, a resident’s legs could get caught in the gap, causing them to fall or become trapped against the bed.
Bedrails are also classified as restraints by the Centers for Medicaid Services (CMS) and should only be used on a case-by-case basis as a temporary measure. These devices are meant as a last resort measure to protect residents from injuring themselves, such as if they are a fall risk. That being said, they should be removed when they are not necessary to allow a resident to freely leave the bed to go to the bathroom or in emergencies. If they attempt to climb over a rail, they could get entrapped and severely injured.
In fact, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has identified multiple fatal cases of bedrail entrapment. This is especially common among residents who suffer from certain medical conditions, including:
- Alzheimer’s and dementia
- Paralysis or mobility issues
- Cerebral palsy
- Multiple sclerosis
The FDA also notes that residents who are under medication are also at a high risk of suffering a fatal injury as a result of bedrail entrapment. But another major risk to residents is neglectful staff members. Bedrail injuries can be prevented if nursing home staff check on residents regularly, remove railings when unnecessary, and quickly respond to resident’s needs, such as assistance with going to the bathroom. Understaffed facilities, on the other hand, often allow residents to suffer severe injuries because they put overall profits over fully staffing their facilities and meeting resident needs.
When a resident becomes trapped by a bedrail, they can suffer a wide variety of injuries. If freed quickly, they may only suffer minor bruising and lacerations, but extensive trauma can result in:
- Fractures, broken bones, and crush injuries
- Compression of the spinal cord
- Internal bleeding
- Traumatic brain injuries if a resident falls
- Strangulation and asphyxiation, leading to death
These injuries are often the result of a resident slipping further and further between the rail and the bed. Many residents do not have the upper body strength to lift themselves free, and their body weight can push them down, leading to additional trauma. In addition, if the bed gets knocked off balance, the entire thing could tip over and pin the resident to the ground.
Ultimately, these injuries can be prevented if the facility took proper care of a resident, removed the bedrails when they are medically unnecessary, and kept a watchful eye over them. Failure to prevent these injuries can not only make them liable for any injuries a resident suffers but also in violation of federal regulations.
For decades, there were no official guidelines or rules on bedrail use, which led to numerous residents suffering traumatic injuries and even dying due to misuse. However, in 1998, the FDA developed the Hospital Bed Safety Workgroup, an organization devoted to preventing entrapments and improving the safety of residents in hospital beds. Just two years later, the CMS also enacted regulations about physical restraints, which include bedrails, and required routine inspections of a facility to determine if they are using bedrails correctly. If not, the facility could be fined for violating federal regulations and subject to a personal injury claim.
If your loved one suffered a bedrail injury due to a negligent nursing home, then you should immediately contact an attorney to discuss the case. Your loved one may be eligible for compensation, which can allow them to move to another, safer facility and cover the medical costs of their injuries. But, in order to file a claim against the facility, you will need to demonstrate how the injury occurred and why the nursing home facility is at fault.
To successfully pursue a personal injury claim against a negligent nursing home, you must prove:
- The nursing home owed your family member a duty of care;
- The nursing home broke that duty of care due to negligence, carelessness, or recklessness;
- By breaking that duty of care, the nursing home caused your loved one’s injury; and
- That injury led to specific damages, such as medical costs or pain and suffering.
In general, nursing homes have a duty of care towards all residents who enter their facilities, so it is not difficult to prove that element of a claim. With regards to proving negligence, you will need to explain how the facility negligently used the bedrail, which can include using the wrong type of bedrail for the bed, failing to remove rails when they are not necessary, or not checking on a resident who requested help. In some instances, it may be the result of an abusive staff member who unlawfully restrained your loved one. If this negligence or abusive behavior caused your loved one’s injuries and medical expenses or other damages, then you can file a claim against them.
Nursing home claims can be extremely complicated, often requiring days upon days of in-depth research and lengthy negotiations or trials. But every case of bedrail entrapment should be thoroughly investigated to determine if negligence did occur and, if it did, the facility where it occurred should be held accountable.
That is why we at Bottlinger Law L.L.C. are devoted to representing the victims of bedrail entrapment. There is no instance where these severe and often fatal injuries should go unaccounted for. If your loved one suffered a bedrail injury due to a negligent nursing home facility, reach out to an Omaha personal injury attorney. We can explain to you your loved one’s right in a free evaluation and advocate for full compensation from the facility that injured them. To discuss your case further, contact Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 505-8234.
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