Patient entrapment can happen when a patient gets caught or tangled in the hospital bed's side rails or openings. Frail and elderly patients are the highest risk for entrapment.
There have been reported incidents of patients getting seriously injured, and even dying, after slipping between the mattress and side rail, or after becoming entrapped in the openings of the side rail.
The FDA has identified seven zones where patients are most often entrapped:
Zone 1. Within the rail
Zone 2. Under the rail, between the rail supports, or next to a single rail support
Zone 3. Between the rail and the mattress
Zone 4. Under the rail, at the ends of the rail
Zone 5. Between split bed rails
Zone 6. Between the end of the rail and the side edge of the headboard or footboard
Zone 7. Between the headboard or footboard and the mattress end
Source: Waking Up To Hospital Bed Entrapment Risks by Joan Ferlo Todd, RN, BSN, MS (Article reprinted from Nursing2008, January issue, p.14-15.)
Awareness of entrapment danger is the first step to preventing it. Caregivers and resident facilities familiar with the seven zones published by the FDA can take steps to minimize entrapment risks. We offer a variety of products that comply with the Centers for Medicare & Medical Services (CMS) guidelines for safer beds.
The decision to remove side rails from medical beds should be made only after careful assessment of individual patients and their risk of falling. If bed rails are not essential, use mattresses or mattress overlays with raised foam edges. Another option is bed-assist bars or handles like the halo safety ring, which can eliminate lateral movement.
When using bed rails you can reduce the risk of entrapment by filling gaps with rail pads and wedges. Arm and leg entrapment can be easily prevented with pads that cover the rail openings and offer extra cushioning for patients. For added safety, ensure the bed frames, mattresses, and rails are compatible with one another.