The bedroom is the living space where many individuals spend a large majority of their time while in their residences. Individuals with disabilities may encounter some difficulties in maneuvering, performing daily activities, and/or accessing furniture. There are many strategies, adaptations, and technologies that can assist an individual in the bedroom. Bedrooms should be designed for comfort, accessibility, and functionality.
Some individuals with disabilities require turning from side to side every 2 to 4 hours as a preventative measure in decubiti (pressure ulcers) care. Others may need to sleep in a semi- “sitting” position for other reasons such as bronchial problems.
Although significant or complete reduction in assistant care may not always be possible, greater independence and flexibility can be achieved through the use of motorized adjustable beds and hospital beds. This technology can also be beneficial to the personal assistant. There are a few differences between adjustable beds and hospital beds.
Hospital beds typically can be paid for by insurance and these purchases are usually processed with little difficulty. The choice in size is limited and it looks like a hospital bed. However, hospital beds have one feature not characteristically found in adjustable beds without significantly altering the price. The entire bed can raise and lower to accommodate preferences for transfers and assistant care.
An adjustable bed looks and feels like a regular bed and comes in various common sizes, i.e. twin, full, queen, etc. In addition, the head and feet can raise or lower to individualized comfort levels. There are also models capable of tilting, massaging and heating. The mattresses may be made of visco-elastic foam, air-filled, latex, and/or coil materials. These kinds of beds are aesthetically pleasing and easy to match with existing decor.
As the name suggests, an adjustable bed (also called a Semi-Fowler bed, as it places the patient in a semi-Fowler position) can be adjusted to a number of different positions. For individuals with certain types of back problems, sleeping on an adjustable bed that is at a slight incline (e.g. 30 to 45 degrees) may be comfortable, with the upper body positioned higher up than the lower body (as when sitting in a recliner) and some support under the knees to bend the knees at a slight angle.
The combination of upper body incline and the knee support can help take some of the stress off the lower back. Provided that the patient is comfortable sleeping in this manner through the night, this position can support the curves osf the spine and relieve pressure on the entire body.
Basically, an adjustable bed has the potential to help anyone who feels more comfortable in an inclined position (such as sitting on a recliner with the feet up) rather than when lying on a regular flat mattress. The following provides a few examples of certain back conditions and how an inclined position in an adjustable bed can sometimes help the patient feel more comfortable
For some people with degenerative spondylolisthesis, sleeping in a reclining position with support under the knees can reduce some of the pain discomfort in the lower back, making it easier to sleep through the night.
Individuals with osteoarthritis in the spine, or facet joint arthritis, often wake up feeling quite stiff and sore in the morning. Sleeping on an adjustable bed may possibly provide better support and therefore decrease the irritation by minimizing joint compression.
In addition, after having low back surgery, some patients feel that an adjustable bed is more comfortable than a flat mattress. Like most choices when it comes to mattresses, this is largely a matter of personal preference.
In general, it is reasonable for a patient to consider the option of an adjustable bed if he or she feels better sitting in a reclining chair with the knees supported or slightly elevated and if he or she is having trouble getting a good night’s rest on a conventional flat mattress. If a patient is not sure if they would benefit from an adjustable bed, or is not sure about buying a new bed, then it is also possible to use pillows to prop up the upper body (being careful to provide support for the lower back) and placing a pillow beneath the knees.