Police Investigate “Bedrail Incident” in Wigan Care Home

Full details of the incident, which took place in August, have not yet been released, whilst the investigation continues, but the concerns resulted in an inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and an overall rating of “requires improvement”.

The CQC stated in its report: “The inspection was brought forwards due to a specific incident involving bed rails, which had occurred at the home on August 30, 2018 and is subject to a police investigation. In light of this incident we wanted to assess the quality and standard of care currently being provided to people living in the home. As a result of the ongoing investigation, we did not look in to the incident as part of this inspection. However, we did look at the system and process in place for bed rails to determine if there were any risks to other people living at the home.”

Only last year, a Leeds care home was fined £163,185 after a service user suffered a fatal fall as a result of unsafe bedrail use, showing just how grave the dangers of bedrails can be if not used correctly. Read on to learn the simple steps you need to take to avoid potentially fatal problems with bedrails in your own service.

Bedrails are widely used in a wide range of care settings to reduce the risk of falling out of bed. However, they are not suitable in every situation and inappropriate or unsafe use of bedrails can create risks such as:

• Becoming trapped between the rails
• Rolling/climbing over the top of the rails
• Climbing over the footboard or around the end of the rails
• Violent contact with bedrail parts

Use This 6 Point Check to Avoid Injuries from Bedrails

  • Always Consider Other Options: Before using bedrails, consider whether other options would be more suitable. A low-level bed, crash mat or even a mattress on the floor may be a safer option.
  • Risk Assess Every Time: Before using bedrails, you must always complete a full risk assessment taking into account the individual service user, the bed, mattress, bed rails and any other equipment used.
  • Ensure Equipment is Compatible: Bedrails, beds and mattresses can vary in size and specification so always make sure the combination of equipment you are using is compatible and fits together safely.
  • Check for Safe Fitting: If the bedrails to be used are not an integral part of the bed, you should always ensure they are fitted by a competent person. Once in use, bedrails should be checked daily to ensure they remain secure and well-maintained.
  • Eliminate Gaps: Ensure that any gaps between rails or at the upper or lower end of the bed, where service users could become trapped or attempt to climb through, are eliminated. The use of bedrail protectors is essential and full-length bedrails should be used wherever possible.
  • Train Your Staff: Provide every member of staff with training in the safe use of bedrails in line with your company policy. It only takes one staff member to use bedrails inappropriately for a serious injury or fatality to occur.

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