Bed Handles Recalled but Less than 1 Percent Response Rate, Endangering Seniors

92415.jpgIf you make the difficult decision to place your loved one in an Illinois nursing home, what concerns should you have? Should you have to worry about their daily activities or the level of care they will receive? What about their safety as they move about the home?

Nursing homes within the state are governed by federal and state laws that require them to provide adequate care to their patients in a safe environment, so in theory, you should not have to worry about your loved one’s care. Unfortunately, though, every day incidents of nursing home abuse and neglect occur around the country that leave victims injured, or in the most extreme cases, even dead. As a result, it is reasonable that family members of nursing home patients stay informed about the daily functions of a home to ensure that their loved one is receiving the best care possible.

In May of 2014, approximately 113,000 bed handles were the subject of a voluntary recall after it became clear that they were unsafe and were responsible for at least three deaths. The handles, manufactured by the company Bed Handles, Inc., can shift out of place when positioned on an adult’s bed without safety retention straps. If the handle does move, it can cause a gap between the bed’s mattress and the handle which may lead to strangulation, entrapment, and even death.

At this time, three elderly victims are known to have lost their lives due to these malfunctioning bed handles, and all of them were in some type of long term care facility. The company that makes the handles is offering retention straps free of charge to all who own the handles so that they can be securely fastened to a bed frame, preventing the handle from moving but at this time, only one percent of all affected handles have been addressed by the recall efforts which began approximately 16 months ago.

That means that the remaining 99 percent of handles out there are still posing serious, even fatal risks for the adults who are using them and many of those adults likely are unaware of the harm. As a typical nursing home patient is not in charge of her care and is unable to make decisions concerning things like bed handles, it is up to the staff and owners of the nursing home to guarantee the safety of residents.

If nursing homes fail to act appropriately and replace or correct these errant handles, they may be liable for any injuries that result. The company that manufactured the handles may also face legal liability for their conduct if an adult is injured due to use of the handle.

Instances of nursing home abuse or neglect can take on many forms and often are difficult to discern by those who are unfamiliar with the laws of Illinois. If you suspect possible misconduct or if you have questions about your loved one’s care, consider calling the personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. for a free case consultation.

We have a licensed lawyer standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call toll free at (855) 529-2442 or locally at (312) 924-7575 and everything discussed during the consultation will be kept confidential. If you have questions or if you need help, call Abels & Annes, P.C. today and let us get to work protecting your family’s rights.

Prior Blog Entry:

How Wandering Presents a Safety Issue in Illinois Nursing Homes, Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog, published September 16, 2015.

Resource:

Bed Handles Inc. Reannounces Recall of Adult Portable Bed Handles Due to Serious Entrapment and Strangulation Hazards; Less Than 1% Response Rate to Recall, Consumer Product Safety Commission, published September 17, 2015.