Choosing a new bed can be a costly process. Before making such a large purchase, you may first want to consider why you feel the need to change – is it for medical reasons? For supporting recovery following surgery or pressure relief? Is it to meet long term, or changing needs? You may wish to discuss this with your consultant, GP or District Nurse – for short term needs, a loaned bed or a temporary pressure relieving solution that may be more suitable.
Bed raisers and lifting poles/bed levers can help with both moving and turning in bed, and getting in and out. Pillow lifting equipment can be added to existing beds to aid sitting up to eat, drink or perhaps watch television. Adjustable beds can meet some or all of these needs and more. They come in many different designs, from those which simply sit you up, to ones that offer profiling support and others that will even turn a person or move then from lying into sitting and standing positions.
Care should be taken that the correct height of the bed is chosen to maintain independent transfers in/out. Height adjustable beds can be excellent ways of achieving the ideal height to encourage users to transfer independently, whilst also meeting the needs of different height carers.
Ensure that the bed is long enough to prevent the user from sliding down or even off the bed when using a bed’s control mechanisms and their feet from extending out too far. Width is also important – when changing from a double bed, ensure there is room for two beds or a double bed with a separate mechanism for each side, as both can take up more space. When moving to a single bed, care must be taken to reduce the risk of falling out. Cot sides may be suitable for some, but are not safe or appropriate for everyone and can affect access for carers.
Claire Miller is Lead Occupational Therapist and Trainer at the Staffordshire-based company Occupational Therapy & Training. For more information, contact 07930 185090 or visit www.otandt.co.uk
Tina-Maria Carey from Bournemouth talks about the CosySafe Cot, similar to the one pictured here, used by her 3-year-old daughter Milly, who has Trisomy 18/Edwards syndrome
What was the reason for getting the bed?
A normal bed wasn’t right for Milly’s posture and back – she was throwing herself out of the bed and bruising herself, so we needed a specialised bed for her needs.
How did you go about searching for a suitable item?
Milly’s OT (who is also a physiotherapist at her school) suggested that we look at different types of beds that would be suitable for her. We saw a brochure for the one that we have now, which could be specifically designed for her needs – it took two weeks or so to make our minds up.
Were there any specific factors that made you settle on that model?
We needed something that went up and down, with clear sides that we could see Milly through and it had to be harm proof, because she’s got a habit of head banging and throwing herself around at night. Because she has seizures, we also needed to be able to open the cot really quickly to get to her.
Were you able to try the cot out before purchasing it?
A representative from Kinderkey Healthcare came down with a prototype and made every adjustment that we needed, so that the final cot was designed and made specifically made for Milly.
How long did it take for the cot to be supplied and set up?
It took around eight or nine weeks for it to be delivered, and when it arrived, it was put together for us in Milly’s room – we didn’t have to assemble it ourselves.
How have you found the Kinderkey CosySafe cot so far?
It’s absolutely great for her. At first she was a bit bewildered, but she absolutely loves it now! It made our lives an awful lot easier when putting Milly to bed – before, we couldn’t put her to bed until we knew she was fully asleep. Now we can take her upstairs and know that she’s safe. It really has made a difference for us over the four weeks we’ve had it.
Is she sleeping better now as a result of using the cot?
We know that because of all the padding it has, she can’t hurt herself in any way. Milly herself feels a lot more secure in there, and is definitely sleeping better. If she needs changing I can raise the bed to my level, and she can be lowered down when she’s asleep. When she’s not very well and has a bad chest, we can raise the top of the bed, so it’s really beneficial for her health too – it basically does everything apart from make you a cup of tea in the morning!
Check out Kinderkey’s full range of specialist cots and beds at www.kinderkey.co.uk