Nursing Home Resident Suffocates to Death

A state investigation has indicated blame for a nursing home in the death of an elderly resident who suffocated after her head became lodged between a mattress and bed railing. The resident had a history of falls and dementia and was not properly assessed to determine if she needed bed railing. According to the incident report, after a nursing check was completed, the resident was discovered.

Prior to her death, the resident had fallen out of bed and investigators determined that the nursing home did not reassess her need for a bed rail at that point or include any new interventions to prevent her from falling. The resident was also listed as having muscle weakness and limited mobility.

Ideally, bed rails may provide fall prevention benefits but at the same time can present dangers of entrapment and strangulation. Bed rails were initially used for safety measures in preventing falls but their use has declined over the years due to risks. For more, read the story.


Robert W. Carter, Jr. is a Virginia attorney whose law practice is dedicated to protecting the rights of the victims of nursing home and assisted living neglect and abuse in Richmond, Roanoke, Norfolk, Lynchburg, Danville, Charlottesville, and across Virginia.


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