Conflicting benefits and hazards hospital style bed rails
conference contributionposted on 01.12.2010, 16:02 by Sue HignettSue Hignett
This paper reviews the design and use of hospital-style bed rails. Rails were originally used as a safety feature for psychiatric patients at risk of falling in the 1800s. There are benefits, for example security in transit, facilitating repositioning, but also hazards, including deaths and injuries associated with entrapment. The developments in the technological specification of hospital beds (electric) has increased with their functionality. However, a survey in England and Wales found that patients on electric beds / pressure mattresses were three times more likely to have their rails raised. This may lead to an increase in the exposure to the risks associated with bed rails and presents a conflict for designers, staff and patients.