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South Australia Coroners bedpole advice - 8 December 2009

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The attached correspondence from the South Australian Coroner’s Court, relates to the preliminary findings of an inquest into the death of a resident at a Residential Aged Care Facility. The cause of death was asphyxiation due to neck entrapment between a vertical bedpole (sometimes referred to as a bedstick) and the side of a bed mattress. A bedpole, sometimes referred to as a bedstick, is a device utilised to assist a person’s mobility and independence in bed and is widely used in nursing homes and other aged care facilities and in the community generally.

The Deputy State Coroner has indicated that, “…bedpoles should not be used in circumstances where there is a gap between the bedpole vertical component and the mattress, or potential gap if the device or mattress moves, and / or where the intended user has a history of recurrent falls from bed, has a cognitive impairment, with or without limited mobility, or where the intended user’s faculties are compromised by medication. Any person or organisation that utilises bedpoles must ensure that the use of a bedpole is risk assessed in each application.”

While not strictly a Home Modifications issue, the HMinfo team felt this piece of information warranted posting on our site. This information comes directly from the Australian Federal Government Department of Health and Ageing website and is not necessarily the opinion or position of the Home Modification Information Clearinghouse. 


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