IDPH has cited and fined Bria of Belleville after a resident there fell out of bed and was hospitalized due to bed rails that were poorly attached to the frame.
Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) warnings on bed rail safety have prompted many manufacturers to design safer beds that minimize the risk of accidents, many nursing homes continue to place their residents in outdated beds with unsafe rail designs.
Nursing homes that do have upgraded beds often still have older models in some rooms, since there is little incentive to rid the facility of any usable bed. Adding to the risk of serious or fatal injury are rental beds from medical supply companies. Not only are the rental beds typically those with more outdated designs, but they are often sent to nursing homes with mismatched parts. In other words, the mattress and bed rails may be from different manufacturers, putting the resident at risk of getting trapped in the space between the mattress and frame.
On the day this resident was admitted to the nursing home she immediately remarked to the admitting nurse that the bed rails felt “loose and wiggly.” The resident’s husband remarked that his wife showed how loose the bed rails were to “several staff members . . . and no one did anything about it.”
The citation mentions that the admitting nurse acknowledged that she vaguely remembers someone making a remark about the bed rails as she was checking in the new resident, but that she was new and intensely focused on the computer and her documentation.
It only took one day for the accident to occur.
On her second day in the facility, while the new resident was repositioning herself in bed, the bed rail became detached and the resident fell off the bed. She landed on top of the detached bed rail on the floor. She was transported to the Emergency Room and was diagnosed with a frontal sinus facial fracture, mildly compressed skull fracture, and a possible subdural hematoma.
The citation mentions that the bed appeared to be an older model with an air mattress placed on the bed frame.
After the incident, the resident’s husband returned to the facility to examine the bed. “I got down on the floor to look at how the rails are attached to the bed, and it is only attached by a hand knob that you hand tighten. All anyone had to do was to tighten the black knob and my wife would not be in this condition. Anyone could have done that. Their negligence is why my wife is like she is now.”
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