Has a person in your life started needing assistance getting in and out of bed? Whether a person is convalescing or is in a state of declining physical health an adjustable or hospital bed will make providing care and assisting with mobility much safer and easier.
Adjustable Bed versus Hospital Bed?
Hospital beds do not provide the same comfort level offered by adjustable bed mattresses. In addition, they only come in Twin and Bariatric sizes and are often adjusted manually making them more difficult to raise and lower as compared to electric adjustable beds.
At GreenLight Mobility we offer two types of adjustable beds:
- Flexabed which comes in Twin, Full, Queen and King (two Twins next to each other)
- Span America Advantage Bed which comes in a Twin and has extenders for a width up to 42”
Flexabed and Span America understand that the features of a hospital bed are very important for both the people with mobility challenges as well as their caregivers. Not only do their entire beds raise and lower, their beds also have the ability to raise and lower the head and leg area.
Why are Adjustable Beds Important?
Comfort: Many people are more comfortable with their head elevated, especially if watching TV or eating in bed.
Health: Many cardiac or pulmonary diseases make it difficult to sleep in a supine (flat) position. Breathing tends to be easier when the head is elevated. When the legs are elevated, circulation is improved.
Mobility: People who are aging or have medical conditions may have some of the following mobility challenges:
- Rolling in bed and going from a supine position to sitting at the edge of the bed (bed mobility)
- Getting on and off the bed (sit to stand transfers)
Staying with your Loved One: Many spouses and partners want to continue to share their bed with their ailing loved one. The Flexabed allows for partners to continue sharing a bed while giving the challenged partner all the physical accommodations they need.
Comfort is attained not only by bed position but also by the mattress utilized. If someone spends a lot of time in bed, or has skin breakdown (decubitus), one should utilize an air mattress. Span America offers the Pressure Guard APM2 air mattress which is utilized with their Advantage bed. To ensure proper support and comfort, Span America offers both traditional and bariatric (for persons 350+ lbs.) mattresses.
Flexabed offers a Latex Core mattress which is recommended for someone sleeping in a bed for long periods. They also offer a very comfortable innerspring mattress that comes in soft, medium and firm density; this is recommended for people who sleep a traditional amount of time. It is important to note, a soft mattress makes it more difficult to adjust a person’s position in bed. These Flexabed mattresses are not recommended for people with skin breakdown; an air mattress should be utilized.
Improving your Health
There are several health reasons to sleep in an adjustable bed. Sleeping in a zero-gravity position, with both the legs and torso elevated, helps improve circulation by making it easier for blood to flow back to the heart. Raising your legs can also help prevent blood clots and mitigate the issues that arise from clots. In addition, raised legs reduce lower extremity inflammation thus reducing swelling and edema.
Sleeping or resting with your head elevated can also improve quality of sleep and rest. It can help relieve post nasal drip and open airways helping alleviate snoring and apnea. Having your head and torso elevated can help provide relief from the effects of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and has been known to reduce symptoms of GERD (Gastroesophageal
Reflux Disease) or heartburn.
Having a bed that elevates to a higher position makes sit to stand transfers easier for both the patient and caregiver. This is also true for the opposite movement as a lower service level makes the sitting process easier. The adjustable bed levels also prevent back strain on the caregiver as they help ease a person in and out of bed. Raising or lowering the bed to the caregiver’s waist reduces back strain.
In addition to elevation adjustments, the ability to raise the head of the bed helps a person go from a supine position to a sitting position without relying on their trunk strength. This too prevents strain on the caregiver as it offers better body mechanics for the caregiver and in turn provides safer bed mobility for the patient.
For added security, bed rails can be added to the adjustable beds. These usually come in half rails and are often placed at the upper part of the bed to help with bed mobility and for sit to stand transfers. Unlike a walker, which is not bolted down, bed rails can accommodate the force of doing a sit to stand transfer. Note, when standing up to a walker from a bed or any other surface, one should push up from a surface such as the bed itself. This can be accomplished with a fixed bed rail, Security Pole (with a curved grab bar) or Super Pole. These poles provide a grab bar when no wall available. (Please see our Grab Bar Blog) .
Bed rails can also be placed at the lower end of the bed to prevent falls out of the bed. However, a person with dementia may try to climb over these rails. In such a case, bed sensors can be placed on the mattress to detect movement in the bed and help prevent such a hazard.
Staying with your Loved One
As previously mentioned, Flexabed comes in sizes from Twin to King (two Twins next to each other). If two people want to continue sleeping in bed together, but one has mobility or health issues, the Queen or King bed can be a nice option to getting a hospital bed. One should remember, if the person with mobility issues has a progressive disease, selecting the King is a better option. As the disease progresses, the Twin beds can be separated so a caregiver can get on both sides of the patient.
Contact GreenLight Mobility to answer any questions you may have to ensure you pick the right bed for your needs.