Bed rails are a form of restraint but are meant to keep residents from falling out of bed and being injured. Nursing home facilities cannot use bed rails without documentation and justification. Bed rails are intended to be used as a safety precaution, however there have been cases where bed rails were the cause of injuries, some fatal. Many families are unaware of how dangerous bed rails can be and assume they are safe to use. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have received numerous reports of death and injury that are associated with bed rails. Between the years of 1985 and 2009, 803 reports of patients being trapped, entangled, or strangled in beds with rails were reported to the FDA.
Families of residents who have suffered injuries because of bed rails can file a claim against the nursing home for negligence and failing to provide a safe living environment.