Professor Joseph Ibrahim is Head, Health Law and Ageing Research Unit at Monash University’s Department of Forensic Medicine and the Clinical Director of Geriatric, Rehabilitation and Palliative Care Medicine, at a large regional health service in Australia. Joseph has a keen interest in promoting better care for older people and edits the Communiqués printed educational material designed for health professionals to learn from cases investigated by the Coroners Court. Learn more about Joseph on his personal website.
Joseph and the team recently completed a landmark Australian study published in Age and Ageing, examining deaths due to physical restraint of people living in nursing homes. The study found that five deaths were recorded in nursing home residents due to physical restraint over the 13-year period. The median age of the residents who died was 83 years; all residents had impaired mobility and had restraints applied for falls prevention; four had diagnosed dementia. The mechanism of harm and cause of death were ascertained by a forensic pathologist following autopsy and in all cases, were formulated as ‘neck compression and entrapment by the restraints’. Continue reading
A report published in Age and Ageing calls for more care to be taken when using bedrails in hospitals
A survey of beds within a large teaching hospital in Ireland has shown than many of them did not comply with dimensional standards put in place to minimise the risk of entrapment. The report, published online in the journal Age and Ageing, therefore emphasises the need for careful selection of patients for whom bedrails are to be used, as well as the need for monitoring and maintenance of hospital bed systems.
Bedrails are commonly used as safety devices to prevent people falling from bed. However, although the risk for any individual is extremely low, people can and have become trapped or even strangled in almost all of the spaces that can exist between bedrails or between mattresses, rails, and head- or foot-boards. Continue reading
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