Danger Zones in the Bed
Danger Zones in the Bed
February 15, 2019
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According to the FDA, from 1985 to 2013 there were just over 900 reported incidents of patient entrapment in a hospital bed. Of those reported incidents, 531—or nearly 60%—resulted in death, most of whom were “frail, elderly, or confused” patients who were unable to dislodge themselves, with the majority of patients residing at long-term care facilities.1
Bed entrapment is defined by the FDA as a patient being “caught, trapped, entangled, or strangled”2 in openings under, within, or between bed rails or in gaps between the mattress and side rails or head/footboards—areas more commonly referred to as danger zones. Additionally, fragile or vulnerable populations are at an increased risk of sustaining other serious bed-related traumas such as skin tears, cuts, scrapes, bruises, or even pressure injuries as a result of contact with hard edges of side rails or bed frames. Some may even develop feelings of isolation or become agitated if bed rails appear restrictive or confining, causing unanticipated movement or thrashing. Without proper modifications in place, patients are at a continued risk of incurring serious, if not fatal, injuries.
Five Simple Steps to Improved Bed Safety
A few simple measures can be taken to provide a safer bed environment for patients and help reduce severe or even fatal danger zone and other bed-related injuries:
- Use a properly sized mattress to reduce gaps between the bed and head/footboards.
- Add bed bolsters or gap stuffers to fill dangerous openings between the mattress and side rails or head/footboards while helping to protect fragile or sensitive skin from harmful bruising and tears due to hard surfaces.
- Insert body positioning wedges to promote proper bed positioning, help prevent rolling or turning, and protect against skin damage or trauma.
- Install properly sized safety rails to aid in turning and repositioning, help patients get into and out of bed easier, provide a feeling of comfort and security, and reduce the risk of falls.
- And finally, monitor patients frequently—especially those at high risk—to understand why they leave their bed (hunger, thirst, using the bathroom, restlessness) so you can proactively address their needs and minimize potential injuries.2
Useful Solutions from AliMed
- Bed Bolsters and Gap Stuffers reduce the risk of danger zone injuries and help prevent skin trauma. Clear models with see-through design limit agitation and feelings of isolation in restless or confused patients while Antimicrobial options offer greater infection control. Available in short or long styles to accommodate any gap length.
- Body Positioning Wedges help maintain turning schedules to reduce the risk of pressure injuries. Available in three models: Uncovered is economical and disposable for single-patient use; Upholstered is water-resistant, bacteriostatic, and wipeable for multi-patient use; and Tuff-Coat™ is waterproof and antimicrobial-treated for total disinfection.
- Safety Rails promote easier, safer bed mobility and greater independence. AliRail™ Bed Rail features a wide base for greater stability and unique M-shaped design with a nonslip grip, providing bed rail level protection without feelings of restraint. Transfer Handle® Hospital Model has a narrow 4" gap that meets federal guidelines for entrapment.3
Find more AliMed products for bed positioning and safety.