NHS policy is that risk assessments should be carried out as to the use of bedrails.
It is incumbent upon hospital staff to adhere to and comply with any hospital bedrails policy – as far too often we hear of patients falling out of bed and sustaining injuries, which could create a new medical problem, exacerbate an existing problem, or add complications and prolong their post-operative recovery.
We know from constant messages in the news that most NHS hospitals are often under- resourced, with far too few staff on call, rushing around to look after far too many patients.
Evening and weekend admissions (particularly Sundays) are notoriously the worst time to be in hospital – with the most accidents, incidents of medical negligence occurring, and lowest survival rates for serious medical emergencies or acute illness.
Unfortunately, due to neglect, bedrails may not put up in the first instance to protect patients from falling out of bed; or if lowered for any reason eg to get the patient out of bed for toileting or to change the bed sheets, the staff forget to put them back up again afterwards.
If a patient turns and rolls out of bed, the injuries can be quite serious, particularly for elderly or frail patients, or those recovering from major surgery. Commonly, fractures can occur to the hips and arms and patients can suffer extensive bruising. They rely on the hospital staff to look after them, assess risk and ensure their safety – yet incredibly, the NHS statistics have previously shown that 1 in 200 people fall out of bed! The situation is totally avoidable and should never happen in a hospital environment.
So much so, that the NHS have provided a “Never Events List” – which relates to “serious, largely preventable patient safety incidents that should not occur if the available preventable methods have been implemented by healthcare providers.”