Health Canada is warning hospitals and other health-care facilities about the risk of entrapment of patients in hospital beds after three people died and several were injured.
In a notice to hospitals issued Monday, the health agency says 12 incidents have been reported of patients becoming trapped in hospital beds since 2009, including three deaths.
Four similar deaths were reported between 2007 and 2009.
The notice says unprotected side rails and unfitted mattresses are the main hazards for patients, while beds made prior to the year 2000 are identified as being particularly problematic.
Eight out of the 12 cases of injuries and deaths have occurred in nursing homes or long-term care facilities, while three incidents happened in hospitals and one at home.
Health Canada says in one incident, a patient became trapped in the opening between the split side rails of a Stryker Model FL14E1 long-term care electric bed, which is no longer manufactured but is still in use.
The agency advises health-care facilities that still use beds made before 2000 to contact manufacturers for advice on reducing entrapment hazards, including using covers to fit over the gaps between rails and ensuring that replacement mattresses are the correct size for the bed frame.