Healthcare Quarterly

Healthcare Quarterly 13(3) May 2010 : 80-85.doi:10.12927/hcq.2010.21820
Patient Safety

Death by Side Rail

Sarah Brown and Luana Whitbread


This study determined the prevalence of side rail use in chronic care units and the reduction of side rail use following education. An audit conducted in 2005 and repeated in 2007 looked at the number of side rails that were used and the reasons for this use. An educational presentation titled "Death by Side Rail" was provided for nurses and healthcare aides. Side rail use decreased by 60% from a prevalence of 90% of the population with side rails up on their beds. The primary reason for side rail use by nurses was determined to be "habit." Nurses no longer put up side rails out of habit, and they now assess the situation prior to the consideration of side rail use.



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