Hospital bed mishap not an isolated case
Published Thursday, November 15, 2012 6:20PM AST
Last Updated Thursday, November 15, 2012 6:42PM AST
New concerns are being raised over the safety of elderly patients in their hospital beds after a Cape Breton man became trapped in the side rail of his bed at a Glace Bay nursing home.
The 90-year-old man’s head got stuck in an opening in the side rail and rescuers had to use the Jaws of Life to free him.
The man died a few days later, but doctors say his death is not related to the incident.
However, CTV News has learned there have been dozens of similar cases in Canada, and some of those patients’ deaths have been connected to entrapment in their beds.
The Cape Breton District Health Authority is reviewing the incident at the care home.
Nova Scotia’s Health and Wellness Minister is waiting for more information to be released.
“We want to ensure that we have all the controls and measures in place to ensure that people are safe when they’re receiving treatment here in Nova Scotia,” says Dave Wilson.
Eighty entrapment incidents have been reported to Health Canada since 1980. The patients died in nearly half of those the cases.
Entrapment events also accounted for 65 per cent of all deaths that have been reported with the use of beds. The majority of the incidents took place in nursing homes or long-term care facilities.
Similar incidents continue to be reported to Health Canada. Just this year, safety information on the risks of entrapment of patients in hospital beds was updated for all patient-care facilities.
“People should not be afraid that they are at high risk for this happening when they come into hospital,” says Dr. Stacy Ackroyd, a patient safety scientist at Capital Health.
“If they come into hospital and they are the least bit concerned, or they have questions about the equipment or the age of a bed, then the simple solution is to talk to staff and ask questions.”
There are about 230 of the same beds used by the resident in Glace Bay across the Cape Breton District Health Authority.
Health officials confirm there was buzzer in the man’s room to alert staff, but they won’t say whether he was able to reach or use it.
Staff at the facility discovered the man around midnight Friday during a regular bed check. It is unclear how long he had been trapped before he was found.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kelland Sundahl