Medical Beds - Pro Bed

Being a Family Caregiver 101

As a family caregiver for an immobile loved one, you have a lot on your plate. It’s not only a life-altering decision to manage your own stresses, but to take on the additional unique day-to-day tasks to maintain “Quality of Life” for another person is no small feat. To begin, take a good look in the mirror and know that you are to be commended. You’re making a monumental difference in the life of your loved one, and they will never forget it.

Being a family caregiver is full of subtle tasks and details that only experience and familiarity will prepare you for, and that’s to be expected. Part of developing this new relationship with your family member is embracing change and collectively coming up with systems and practices that benefit them, and you.

While these tasks can take precedence, it’s incredibly vital that you don’t neglect yourself throughout your time as a primary caregiver. Time to yourself, even for a mid-morning coffee, or time to watch the game on the weekend are things you’re entitled to. Remember that balance is critical to maintaining a positive and healthy relationship.


Sleep

Sleep is important for a number of extremely good reasons. Sleep is your body’s natural way of refuelling, refreshing, and resetting itself - deny yourself the proper amount of sleep, and your ability to care for your loved one, and yourself will inevitably begin to suffer.

Sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and benefits heart health, your mental clarity, even your weight. Studies have shown that adequate sleep can assist the brain in learning new skills, an integral aspect of becoming a primary in-home caregiver. Sleep also helps to curb inflammation in the body, linked to heart disease, diabetes, stroke and arthritis.

Taking shorter and shorter sleeps, as well as interrupted sleep patterns can contribute to inflated levels of cortisol - stress hormones - in the body. Cortisol is directly linked to heart attacks and high blood pressure, and makes the heart work harder when it doesn’t get the rest it needs. Interrupted sleep patterns take a toll on caregivers due to needing to turn and accommodate the comfort of their loved ones. This makes self-turning sleep apparatus like the Freedom Bed an invaluable resource for family caregivers who collectively learn that sleep is integral to quality care.

Further, appropriate sleep from 7-9 hours/night has the ability to assist in strengthening the immune system. Taking fewer sick days is a clear advantage to those responsible for the care of their loved ones, and sleep can help to fend off common cold, flu and other infectious bugs that can affect us for days on end. Sleep also aids immunizations in their effectiveness.


Support

Providing mental and physical support to your loved one is of great benefit to them. As a family member, there’s a level of inherent dignity that will accompany your involvement, rather than professional in-home aid. Having a family member to talk to, share their experiences with, and grow with are irreplaceable feelings that help to develop feelings of comfort, social belonging, and of respect.

For caregivers, accept your feelings. They can include resentment, anger, frustration, guilt, and even helplessness. It’s incredibly important that you’re able to assess and recognize these emotions - they do not mean that you don’t care about your loved one, they just mean you’re a human being who has their own emotions to reckon with.

You may find that you continually worry about administering the additional help and support in caring for your family member or loved one, especially in the beginning. You may also feel guilty for not doing more, or that you find it difficult to be “better”, having more patience, or not being available sometimes.

Don’t try to do it all - you can’t, and your loved one doesn’t expect you to. It’s best to have a clear vision of what your relationship is with your loved one, and to know ahead of time how you can build this relationship. Further, you’re going to need support for yourself. You can turn to your church, other family members and friends for advice - or just someone to listen who won’t judge - a caregiver support group, therapist or support worker.

Giving yourself the opportunity to discuss your emotions is key to accepting help and making the best of exhausting situations. Without accepting support in many forms, you’ll inevitably burn out, and your relationship with your loved one may suffer.


Independence/ Personal Time

Your own independence is also a big issue with many family caregivers. Many feel as though they have little independence and are tied to a home or wherever your loved one resides. Ensuring you can get away and live your own life apart from being a family caregiver is not selfish - it’s a requirement of a meaningful human life experience. You must give yourself the opportunity to live, and experience your own life on your own terms.

While being a family caregiver is a great responsibility and honor, making sure you can give yourself the time to escape to a movie, a concert, a dinner date, or any other forms of outside entertainment and de-stressers is a big part of remaining dedicated to the role. As the old saying goes: “All work, no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

You need to release hormones of stress to trigger your biological system to reboot every now and then - it’s all part of being human. When done correctly, being a family caregiver can be very rewarding, and giving yourself the opportunity to seek some solace in personal time is part of the experience.

Similarly, your loved one will surely accept and respect your need for alone time - they need this too. Personal independence, even for a short time can be validating for them in a sense that they can still attain privacy and respite from their routine. Discuss with your loved one the need for both of you to have some personal time each week, and plan a schedule that accommodates your own independence from roles of caregiver/recipient.


Quality of Life

The all-encompassing Quality of Life factor is the tallest order to achieve while undertaking the role as family caregiver. You’ve accepted this role because you believe in giving your loved one the “Quality of Life” they very much deserve, and you’ve done it because you believe in taking care of your loved ones. Period.

Attaining quality of life is attributed to many subcategories but is rooted in identity/engagement, memory and projection of Ideals, your beliefs, creativity and recreation, learning, well-being and health, and the big one - overall happiness. Giving yourself the opportunity to bring happiness to your loved one via family care is a gift that we should all be so fortunate to provide. It’s value is seemingly priceless.

As a caregiver, you ultimately deserve happiness as well. Communication and openness is an excellent way to achieve happiness within your support network. Be open to accepting help, new ideas, and be sure to take time for yourself - you’ll be a better caregiver for it.

 

New Call-to-action

How to Prepare Your Home for Wheelchair Access

 

Preparing your home for wheelchair access doesn’t have to be a daunting task. For the majority of families, adjusting or updating your collective homes to accommodate members of the family with limited mobility is a fact of life that will inevitably take center stage.

There are many considerations one should investigate prior to beginning the task of preparing your home to be wheelchair accessible, from the driveway to the bathroom. They key is often how you can consider promoting independent living and a safe, easily maneuverable space for your loved ones.

 

Update or Move?

One of the first things you should consider is whether or not updating or renovating the individual's home is worth the effort and cost.

Begin by assessing the potential for adaptability in the home. Look at things like the width of hallways, for example. An adult wheelchair needs at least, 36 inches of room to move freely within, and requires 60 inches of space to complete a full 360 degree turn.  If the hallways of the home are too narrow, you may want to consider finding a space that can accommodate a wheelchair more easily, as renovating the structural bones of the dwelling may not be a possibility.

As well, consider the heights and angles at which everyday functional amenities lay. Wall mounted light switches, thermostats, and intercoms should ideally be no higher off the floor than 54 inches for a sideways reach, and 48 inches for a forward reach to ensure they are easily accessible for the individual using the wheelchair.

Countertops and tables should be no more than 34 inches tall, and knee placement should be approximately 27 inches tall, at least 30 inches in width, and 19 inches deep. The costs of modifying a home to accommodate these important changes may be overwhelming, and in such cases, moving altogether or building to suit the needs of the individual may be the best avenue.

That being said, many home updates and revisions are relatively small and inexpensive – it’s simply a matter of gauging what you have to work with and making an informed decision as to what’s going to be best for your particular physical capabilities, limitations, and needs.


Entrances

Most homes will require an access ramp from the outside. In addition to being wide enough to accommodate a standard adult sized wheelchair, grade must also be considered. As a general rule, for every one inch of vertical incline, there must be at least 12 inches of length.

A vertical lift could also be considered for a home entrance that is elevated off the ground and located in a congested area.

Doorways should also be considered for wheelchair and walker access. Doors can easily be widened by removing the existing door and trim. This could also mean relocating and re-adjusting a wall mounted light switch. Installing swing away door hinges is a good idea as well, as many doors only open to 90 degrees, meaning the door will still be in the way of the wheelchair as it enters the house.


Stairs

Navigating a set of stairs for an immobilized individual can be a daunting and frightening task. Various flat platform stair lifts usually come equipped with a swiveling seat making for easy entry, and are available and can be custom fabricated to fit just about every shape and size of stairwell imaginable.

These lifts provide full mobility and a priceless feeling of independence for the user within their existing 2 or 3 story home, and operate much like a diagonal elevator.


Bedrooms

The biggest issue with bedroom accessibility for a person with a disability or limited mobility is getting in and out of bed as safely as possible for both the user and the care-giver. This can be accommodated with a manual or power lift that utilizes a hydraulic mechanism to physically lift the person into and out of a bed.  A ceiling lift is a more advanced system with tracks in the ceiling to allow movement within the room.

There are superior bed options available that offer programmable lateral rotation therapy, and  are perfect for individuals with limited mobility who cannot turn themselves during the night. This is especially important to the comfort of the individual and assists in providing uninterrupted sleep without the requirement for overnight support personnel. Options such as the Freedom Bed provide those with limited mobility with unwavering health benefits as well as an improved lifestyle – for both bed-users and their families.

The lateral rotation achieved with rotating medical beds improves overall health and wellness while improving the quality of sleep. A feature unique to The Freedom Bed is the air-powered head and leg raising system that allows the user to be raised into the sitting position. This is a substantial benefit to those who require the use of a lift. It can be adjusted to meet the unique requirements of each individual bed-user, rather than being built to accommodate the average person. Low-pressure air cushions under the mattress raise the individual and conform to their body shape providing a complete range of customized ergonomic positions.

A healthy, mobile person turns from side to side several times while sleeping, relieving pressure, stimulating the body, improving circulation, and helping to prevent problems associated with immobility. Immobilized people who cannot turn or rotate frequently enough are at significant risk of developing pressure ulcers (also known as bed sores), kidney and bladder infections, and pulmonary/respiratory infections, including pneumonia.

 

Bathrooms

Bathrooms can be easily remodeled to accommodate someone in a wheelchair. Consider widening the doors, and ensuring that a minimum turn-around space of 60 inches is attainable before doing any renovating.

Bathtubs and showers can be hazardous, yet essential, features of the house for an immobilized individual. Transferring from a tub to a shower in particular can be a difficult process. The tub and shower area, therefore, should be inspected and designed for maximum safety potential. Consider a prefabricated roll-in shower set that makes it easy for the person to simply change wheelchairs and roll into the shower space. Space may again be a hindrance to this type of plan, but it can assist with increased freedom and independence.  A small wheelchair lift for an existing bathtub is also another viable option.

Toilet seat requirements vary from one person to another, but as a general rule, standard residential toilets rest at a height of approximately 17 inches. This can make it difficult for the individual to get back in their chair. A 19-inch tall replacement can make all the difference, or simply install a raised seat. A support bar close by will also assist the individual to get up and back into and out of their wheelchair.

Sinks can also be adapted to accommodate wheelchairs. Under-sink cabinets can be removed to allow the individual to be within reasonable reach of the faucets. Lowering the countertop may also be considered here.


Floors

Carpet can reduce mobility for a wheelchair user. Opting for hardwood, or engineered hardwood, tile, or vinyl flooring is a good option to increase the level of ease the individual can experience within their home.

Rubber ramps can be installed to compensate for raised door jams and entranceways as well. Exposed cords that make mobility difficult can easily be covered up by a new area rug, or hidden in the walls as part of your ongoing renovation process.

---

These accessibility considerations will help you and your loved ones to make your home  wheelchair accessible. Whether you choose to move to a new home or not, these basic measurements, guidelines and suggestions can be used to formulate a renovation plan to help encourage a growing feeling of independence and freedom for the individual affected by immobility.

By promoting a more active, independent lifestyle, accessibility changes like these can help the individual as well as their families and caregivers experience and promote balanced and healthy living habits.

New Call-to-action

ProBed Medical Featured On NBC’s George To The Rescue

 

George To The Rescue features host George Oliphant and his team of contractors and designers that team up to rescue the homes of deserving people. George sources contractors to aid in renovating homes to make the lives of homeowners in need easier.

During September 2016, senior representatives of ProBed Medical USA Inc. had the privilege of meeting George in New Jersey to participate in his upcoming show that aired October 15th on NBC. We were honored to be part of the development as we partnered with George on his project.

ProBed Medical donated the Freedom Bed™ to support the mission of providing accessibility and comfort to James Quesada, his family and his caregivers after he became paralyzed as a result of injuries sustained during an auto accident. Having installed his Freedom Bed and trained him, his family and caregivers in its many features, James will enjoy a significant improvement in his overall health and lifestyle. 


Since bringing the Freedom Bed™ into the Quesada home, we’ve heard back from them of the positive outcome that both James and his Mother are having the greatest sleep they’ve enjoyed in years.


Start your week off on a positive note by catching the episode that aired on NBC New York, October 15th 2016 featuring the wonderful surprise and great outcome for the Quesada Family.

George to the Rescue is changing the lives of families across the nation for the better. ProBed Medical is proud to have joined them in this mission.

 

New Call-to-action

Top 10 Spinal Cord Research Organizations

 

Incredible advancements in the field of spinal cord injury (SCI) research are unearthed every day.

In fact, 90% of all spinal cord research information has been discovered in the last two decades, meaning there is an increasing level of support, information, and funding available to people with spinal cord injuries; the global SCI community is in better hands than ever before.

There are countless organizations who support and advocate for those who suffer from various forms of spinal cord injuries, financially, informationally, and emotionally.


The Canadian Spinal Research Organization (CSRO)/American Spinal Research Organization(ASRO)

The CSRO/ASRO is dedicated to building awareness and support for priority bench to bedside research projects, as well as actively pursuing meaningful and collaborative partnerships that could help to find a cure. The group fundraises as a charitable organization and contributes to initiatives that effectively utilize funds to reap the greatest returns.

The organization was built with the hope that a cure was possible, and continually educates others on the status of priority research projects.

Additionally, the CSRO/ASRO seeks to inspire and connect the entire SCI community to share and support the belief that a cure will be found.


American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA)

A premiere North American organization dedicated to the field of spinal cord injury care, research and education.

Core values of ASIA include discovery and knowledge translation to members of the upcoming generation, interdisciplinary collaboration and to foster research that aims at preventing spinal cord injuries, improving care, reducing disability and finding cures to both acute and chronic SCI.


Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation

Formerly the American Paralysis Foundation and the Christopher Reeve Foundation, a merger that helps support research in the development of effective treatments and a cure for paralysis caused by SCI.

The foundation’s NeuroRecovery Network is a network that supports cutting-edge clinical rehabilitation, funded by the Reeve Foundation, in 6 clinical centers and 5 rehabilitation/community fitness and wellness centres that help develop and provide activity-based therapies that promote functional recovery in those affected by SCI, and improve the health of people with paralysis.


The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis

Co-founded in 1985, the Miami Project is the world’s most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center, is located at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and is a designated Center of Excellence dedicated to conducting cutting-edge research and discovery targeting spinal cord and brain injuries.

The Miami Project employs over 300 scientists, researchers, clinicians, and support staff who undertake innovative approaches to offering support and treatment of SCI and brain injuries. 

Their clinical trial program includes cell transplantation, therapeutic hypothermia, deep brain stimulation, and their discovery program is currently investigating immune modulation, and regeneration mechanisms.


Mike Utley Foundation

Founded after Detroit Lions’ offensive guard, Mike Utley was paralyzed in an NFL game in 1991, this non-profit foundation serves to financially support effective function-restoring treatments for spinal cord injuries and to encourage a rehabilitative lifestyle through education and public awareness.

The foundation is dedicated to finding a cure for paralysis and provides motivational and emotional support for those living with such injuries.

In addition to clinical studies and research, the Mike Utley foundation supports families and patients through assistance programs, patient equipment, patient and family education and therapeutic recreation for those living with SCI’s.


United Spinal Association

Dedicated to enhancing the lives of all people living with spinal cord injuries, including veterans, the United Spinal Association was founded in 1946 after WW11 by paralyzed veterans in NYC who were advocating for greater civil rights and independence for themselves and fellow veterans.

Today, the Association is the largest non-profit organization dedicated to fostering support and education for those living with spinal cord injuries. They focus heavily on the inclusion of those with living with SCI’s and advocate for active lifestyles, peer support, and the sharing of education and information.


Spinal Cord Society

The Spinal Cord Society has remained dedicated to finding a cure for spinal cord and related neural problems since 1978, when Charles Carson, PhD founded the international organization.

The SCS distributes a monthly newsletter, providing education, networking and support for those affected by SCI and has supported many innovative research projects. 100% of funds raised by the SCS go directly to research.


Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center

Located at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center was established in 1999 to help promote individual and collaborative studies on injuries to the brain and to the spinal cord.

Working closely with the Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital, the goal of the Center is to build upon medical advances and demonstrate the potential for repair of damaged neurons.

The Centre is dedicated to finding more effective treatments and to ultimately achieve functional repair to injured spinal cords and brains. Studies conducted here range from fundamental neuroscience research to gene therapy, to clinical applications.


Roman Reed Foundation

The Roman Reed Foundation provides support and financial funding to ongoing research practices for spinal cord injury and regenerative medicine conducted by leading universities, scientists and various organizations all in the name of finding a cure for paralysis.


W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience - The Spinal Cord Injury Project

The W.M. Keck Center’s mantra has long been to bring effective treatments to those suffering from spinal cord injuries. The collaborative nature of the Center conducts multidisciplinary collaborative research that aims to accelerate the discovery of scientific advancement into effective human therapies.

The 10,000 square foot facility has specialized laboratories dedicated to molecular, cellular and tissue analyses, as well as a state-of the-art confocal facility, and is designed to be an open, and interactive space.

The Center profoundly believes that “a cure is achievable and that collaboration is the means by which that goal will be reached.”

New Call-to-action

Understanding the Unseen Costs of Homecare

 

 

The concerns and stress related to the direct costs of caring for an immobilized family member or friend can be overwhelming. There can be many unseen and overlooked aspects of long term care that are easily neglected as you guide your family through a challenging time.

Transitioning loved ones into a long term care facility can be extremely expensive. Our independent cost analysis found that depending on the specific needs of the person, the costs for a regular 8-hour night time caregiver tasked with turning the person throughout the night can often exceed $50,000 per year.

In the US alone, the average national cost of long term care can range anywhere from $43,539 for an assisted living facility, and up to $92,000 for a private room in a nursing home facility, meaning that a Freedom Bed™ can give you your return on investment in approximately 6 months to 1 year.

Once the person is discharged from the hospital it is important to prepare accordingly. You may experience sizable savings if you consider home care, as use of the ProBed Freedom Bed™ can eliminate, or greatly reduce the need for an in-home night time caregiver. In many cases, an additional level of comfort is felt by your loved one in having an increased sense of independence in sleeping alone with the assistance of a self-turning bed. 

Medical costs for long term immobility patients can include various procedures relating to bladder infections, skin flap surgery, pressure injuries, pressure ulcers or pneumonia. Immobility can also increase pressure on the body and can lead to pulmonary congestion, and back pain.
Our analysis of long term wound care can potentially cost a considerable $400,000 over a typical four-year period.

It is important to consult with your insurance provider to inquire as to which of these applicable expenses are covered partially, or in full, so you can gain a more accurate sense of your imminent situation. Your medical coverage may change when a loved one is admitted to a long term care facility, or you choose to employ a homemaker service, or a home health aide.

Important things to consider aside from financial stipulations include your loved one’s accessibility to care in the event of an unfortunate emergency, and their specific sleeping arrangements and requirements.

It may be required of your care services to be on-call at all hours, or your loved one may benefit from an assisted living facility, rather than home care altogether. These are topics you can discuss with both your family and your team of trusted healthcare professionals. For example, an unassisted night time schedule for your home health aide worker may mean your loved one has to wait for medical attention, or qualified healthcare professionals to arrive in the event of an emergency. They may be unable to call for help due to their immobility.

On the contrary, their overall health and mental state could benefit from an unassisted night time routine as there are many limitations of standard hospital beds for home use. Stress, in this case due to a mentally exhausting environment and changing surroundings in a long term care facility can amplify short term sleep patterns. Various factors including the temperature of the individual’s room, the lighting or noise of the space, and the comfort and size of the bed all contribute to ongoing sleep problems.

In individuals who are immobile, the inability to move and turn throughout the night can leave them laying in an uncomfortable position that will keep them awake. The American Psychological Association (APA) notes that for adults, the ability to sleep for a recommended eight hours at one time decreases as people age. (Van Dongen & Dinges, Principles & Practice of Sleep Medicine, 2000) As an indirect result, a loss of critical sleep can lead to bouts of depression in some immobility patients.

Many people begin to feel a sense of helplessness when they find they are unable to care for themselves. Ensuring that the individual is able to enjoy a good night’s rest is key to eliminating many ailments and conditions associated with long term immobility.

A programmable lateral rotation medical bed provides a consistent accessibility to care when you consider that the individual is able to find a comfortable position and avoid the stressful potential for depression and medical conditions like bed sores, pulmonary congestion and back pain. When they are routinely rotated throughout the night, they benefit from a quality of life that otherwise could be out of reach for most families due to increasing costs of healthcare assistance. Automatic, programmed,  rotation throughout the night also provides better sleep health for family members who, previously, would have to wake several times during the night for manual rotation procedures.   In analysing the need for the Freedom Bed™ this important aspect of peripheral health issues can easily be overlooked but is of paramount importance. 

In procuring a solution to your loved one’s living situation when immobility becomes prevalent, ensuring that you have addressed any and all applicable costs, both mental and financial, helps to provide a much improved quality of life. If you find that the costs of full time long term care in a nursing home, or that the cost of a full-time home care night aid worker are too great, the help of a rotiation medical bed can significantly offset your ongoing financial worry and provide some piece of mind that your loved one is getting a good night’s rest and is receiving the necessary care that they deserve.

An programmable lateral rotation bed from Pro Bed is a  proven, affordable, compelling choice for many families dealing with immobility.  Clients, and their families, have enjoyed the many benefits of the Freedom Bed™ for over 20 years.

 

New Call-to-action

The Benefits of Sleep for Long Term Medical Recovery

 

Sleep is an essential human function.

It is so ingrained in our collective being, it can easily be compared to that of other necessary human functions, like eating. Much like consuming nutrients through our food, sleep acts as a critical moderator and protective mechanism that helps to regulate and repair our bodies, providing them with the nutrients our bodies need to grow.

Much like eating, sleep is a staple of good health, and is necessary to maintain human health by assisting in the repair and functionality of our bodily tissues, both body and mind.

For long term medical recovery, sleep is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, as a means of repairing bodily tissues and restoring major restorative functions of the body including protein synthesis, muscle growth and the rejuvenation of cognitive function.

The links between sleep and the immune system date back millennia. A report authored by M.R. Opp and the US National Library of Medicine, suggests that sleep deprivation, and therefore the indirect inability to sleep, may decrease the ability to resist infections like a common cold. This inability to fight bacterial or viral infections could be detrimental to an immobility patient susceptible to pneumonia, for example. In elderly patients, this possibility can be more significant. Sleep aids in the creation of more white blood cells that attack different kinds of viruses and bacteria, says a report from Dr. Sunita Kumar, co-director of the Center for Sleep Disorders at Loyola University Medical Center.

Further, Harvard University reports state that “sleeping fewer than about eight hours per night on a regular basis seems to increase the risk of developing a number of medical conditions.”

Sleep is critical is reducing and preventing feelings of depression, and can help to protect mental health and, quite simply, brighten the patient’s day. As part of a report included in the SLEEP journal, it was observed that people who slept for 7-9 hours per night had fewer symptoms of depression than those who were able to sleep less.

For those experiencing long term immobility , there is an interesting correlation between the chronic effects of being bedridden or isolated to a sleep position, and the benefits of sleep. It is medical opinion that being immobile for prolonged periods of time increases one’s chances of developing pressure ulcers, pressure injuries or bedsores, that become painful abrasions that can affect the patient’s ability to sleep soundly. This reduction in sleep also contributes to numerous medical concerns with the cardiovascular system, lungs, blood and bones.

Interestingly, because the cardiovascular system works best when the body is in an upright condition, blood can begin to pool in the legs, and can cause the heart to beat more quickly. To counteract these effects of prolonged immobility and long term medical recovery, a good night's sleep can help to counteract the prescribed outcomes; your blood pressure is reduced during sleep, giving the heart a slight break, and the body adjusts the release of anti-stress hormones during sleep, adds Kumar. In turn, this can help to decrease inflammation, commonly linked to heart disease.

If prolonged medical recovery times require a patient to remain in a rest position, appropriate amounts of sleep could be interpreted as the bodies way of helping to counter the effects of being bedridden.

The effects of prolonged medical recovery are similarly intertwined with patient brain activity. Bed rest has been associated with various cognitive and mental issues such as inability to sleep, anxiety and depression. These effects can be reduced, if not altered, pending an appropriate amount of sleep is attainable by balancing periods of rest with brief periods of active wakefulness.

A University of Pennsylvania study notes that extended wakefulness from inability to sleep can cause permanent damage to neurons. Shorter bouts of sleep may also cause the brain to literally shrink in volume, meaning appropriate sleep could benefit the human psyche by preserving cognitive volume and ability.

The benefits of sleep extend far beyond the physical. Sleep is an integral part of good human health, and its effects can be measured in the rejuvenation of long term medical recovery patients by way of improved mental and cognitive proficiency. Additionally there is hard physical evidence that supports sleep as a preservative cerebral system designed to prolong and improve our greater health and overall lives.

New Call-to-action

The Limitations Of Standard Hospital Beds For Home Use

Sometimes when an individual becomes critically ill or sustains an injury bed rest is required. Although there are varying degrees of immobilization, all persons facing immobility challenges must remain somewhat mobile so as to avoid negative health complications associated with the immobility itself; furthermore, choosing one of the best hospital beds for home use requires finding a bed that offers the caregiver ease of use while providing the disabled person with optimal comfort to ensure that he or she maintains healthy sleeping habits. The bed should also provide solutions to avoid potential complications related to immobility.

 

Manually Turning Persons With Disabilities Can Be Challenging

In order to avoid the many complications associated with immobility, caregivers need to reposition the disabled person frequently (A minimum every two hours to prevent the possibility of pressure sores developing). Turning the person manually is difficult even for medical staff and frequently requires assistance from multiple staff members; therefore, caregivers who are turning the person in their traditional consumer or hospital bed at home will most likely find this task cumbersome as well. Furthermore, manual patient turning is responsible for an inordinate number of caregiver back injuries. 

 

The Importance of Turning Disabled Persons Regularly

There are numerous complications that can occur when an individual is immobile for long periods of time. Some of these complications include:

Bed Sores
Elderly people are more prone to develop pressure injuries or pressure sores than younger patients are. Seniors are at increased risk of pressure injuries because they usually have minimal amounts of fat beneath their skin; in addition, blood flow to their skin may be inhibited. A bedsore can begin to form in as little as two hours. Moving or rotating the person frequently is essential to reduce the likelihood of pressure injuries developing.

Deep Vein Thrombosis - Post-Thrombotic Syndrome - Pulmonary Embolism
Deep vein thrombosis refers to a condition in which blood clots form in the deep veins (typically, the affected veins are located in the legs). A blood clot may form if a vein becomes injured, blood flow to the heart is too slow or the person has a disorder that causes the blood to clot. Most often, DVT occurs in the legs and pelvis; however, it can also occur in the arm.

Signs and symptoms associated with post-thrombotic syndrome include:

  • Swelling
  • Vein Dilation
  • Pain
  • Changes in Skin Color
  • Venous Ulcers

If a blood clot forms, the leg or arm may swell. Anything that prevents the ability of the blood to flow freely or clot properly can potentially cause a blood clot to form. If a blood clot forms, breaks loose and travels to the lungs, the person has what is referred to as a pulmonary embolism: A pulmonary embolism can be prevented with the use of anticoagulants.

Pulmonary Embolism
A pulmonary embolism is a life threatening condition, which is why caregivers need to know what signs and symptoms to look for.

Symptoms may include:

  • Discomfort or chest pain that increases when the person coughs or takes a deep breath.
  • Unexplained shortness of breath.
  • A rapid pulse.
  • Feeling dizzy, lightheaded or fainting.
  • Coughing up blood.

Superficial Venous Thrombosis
Superficial venous thrombosis refers to a condition in which blood clots develop within the shallow, superficial veins. These veins can also become inflamed (without clotting). When superficial veins become inflamed and also develop clots, the condition is referred to as superficial thrombophlebitis.


Traditional Hospital Beds Lack Lateral Rotational Support

Traditional hospital beds do not provide lateral rotational support to assist the person in shifting and turning while lying in bed to avoid the complications outlined above. The inability to change positions can lead to numerous health issues including, breakdown of skin tissue, pressure sores and infections that affect the internal organs. Caregivers need to find a bed that provides the patient with an effective system that offers lateral rotation therapy, preferably programmable to be adjustable to meet the specific needs of the patient.


Hospital Beds Lack Proper Back Support & Head Elevation

In an ongoing effort to improve comfort, a standard hospital bed often fails to provide a full level of comfort for those dealing with long term immobility. This is especially true for those who need the assistance of a caregiver for core areas of movement. All these elements can have an impact on the person’s circulation, mood, and overall happiness.

Ensuring proper back support and head elevation is crucial to improving overall comfort. This is particularly true for the lower lumbar region of the back where the hips are positioned. Head elevation often needs to be supported with additional pillows which can vary on the needs of the user and cause some additional challenges when assisted movement is required to turn the person.


State of the Art Rotational Medical Beds Can Prevent Problems Related to Immobility In Your Home

Technological advancements have allowed for the creation of therapeutic home care beds that are automated and programmable to meet the specific needs of the patient; thus eliminating concerns related to pressure sores and other health issues caused by immobility. Air-powered leg and torso raising systems provide the patient with the ability to remain comfortable while eating or sitting up. They also allow for the programmed turning and repositioning of patients who are ventilator dependent. Furthermore, the ability to raise the legs provides pain relief and other benefits. Voice-control options make these beds ideal for patients who will be immobile for an extended period of time, and who cannot operate typical controls themselves.

New Call-to-action

Finding Funding For People with Disabilities

 

 

Living with some form of disability affects nearly 15% of the world’s population. Of the over 1 billion people affected, many live in poverty and endure the stigma of a less fulfilling life because of their unique circumstances.

Often times we neglect to understand the obstacles people can face not only physically and mentally – but financially as well, when facing immobility challenges.

If you have no insurance or your insurance provider rejects a claim for immobility resources and support, having access to granting organizations is paramount to ensuring that you’re able to achieve the level of support you need to make living with your immobility disability easier.

There are a range of funding opportunities available in the form of grants for those dealing with these challenges in the United States. Some are specific to particular immobility issues, and others advocate for disability awareness and support. Others opt to support families and individuals through community-based fundraising initiatives.


Centers for Independent Living – The NCIL offers a national policy platform that aims to assist in addressing issues of human and civil rights that help people with all types of disabilities live more full and independent lives.

The Christian Institute on Disability – The CID aggressively promotes life, human dignity and the value of all individuals – despite their disabling condition – from a biblical standpoint.

The Christian Fund for the Disabled – A modest grant program administered by Joni and Friends provides one-time grants for individuals in cooperation with churches and Christian organization. Grants are available to evangelical churches and groups that wish to help effectively support those affected by disability.

Division of Specialized Care for Children - Available to eligible patients under 21 years old, this agency serves children with certain chronic physical disabilities and health impairments. Administered by the University of Illinois, it serves children statewide through 13 regional offices.

Grants.gov – An agent of the US government, Grants.gov features many specific granting opportunities for people with disabilities through federal financial assistance programs to eligible applicants.

Federal Housing Administration – The largest mortgage insurer in the world, the FHA helps people choosing to move or make accessibility improvements to their homes. Loans can be used for acquisition or rehabilitation of housing. 

Home Improvement Structural Alterations (HISA) -  Administered by the HISA Department of Veterans Hospitals, this lifetime benefit program can be used, at a maximum of $6,800.

Disability.gov – A large informational guide to federal government grants, this website provides information on acquiring and applying for federal grants for individuals.

The Ability Experience – Serving all people with disabilities, the Ability Experience (formerly Push America) is a Pi Kappa Phi philanthropy fund founded in 1987, grants are given to community foundations that serve people with disabilities in providing new equipment or upgrades to their facilities.

Housing Adaptation Grant – A housing adaptation grant that aims to assist with changes to houses to be more suitable for people with a physical, sensory or intellectual disability.

Plans for Achieving Self-Support – A federally funded plan that helps people with disabilities to plan for their future by reaching goals using their own income. Related to employment, the plan can help people who need assistive technology and other equipment used for employment-related purposes. These plans are required to be approved by Social Security.

USA.gov – Provides timely information and resources to those affected by disabilities.

Disability Funding Consulting – The DFC supports grant programs and inclusion of people with disabilities in grant making organizations. Education, employment, housing, civic participation, arts and culture, technology, health care are included in funding opportunities.

Disability Rights Fund – An international fund dedicated to improving respect for dignity, autonomy and freedom to make one’s own choices. The fund follows the general principles stated in the Convention on the Rights or Persons with Disabilities – the first comprehensive human rights treaty of the 21st century. The Disability Rights Fund promotes a “shift away from treating persons with disabilities as ‘objects’ of charity, medical treatment or social protection.”

Blanche Fischer Foundation – A private nonprofit charitable organization that makes direct grants on behalf of Oregonians with physical disabilities. The resulting aid may relate directly to fostering personal independence. Only open to residents of Oregon.

United Spinal Association – A resource center for individuals with spinal cord disabilities, this site features many resources that help connect individuals with financial assistance programs geared towards people with disabilities.

Travis Roy Foundation – The Travis Roy Foundation focuses on granting opportunities for individuals with spinal cord injuries that help to enable independence through adaptive equipment grants.

Amy Van Dyken Foundation – A “powerful ally for those with spinal cord injuries, the Amy Van Dyken Foundation provides essential medical equipment for people with spinal cord injuries who cannot afford these necessities without additional outside funding assistance.

High Fives Foundation – The High Fives Foundation Empowerment Fund provides resources and inspiration to those who suffer a life-altering spinal cord injuries. They provide board-approved grants to service providers that include insurance, health, and adaptive equipment categories.

Friends of Man – Founded to provide donors with the opportunity to have 100% of their donation gifts used for charitable purposes. The Friends of Man helps people with a variety of needs that include mobility equipment.

Triumph Foundation – Through the Triumph Foundations program to help people with financial constraints, their Fundraising Partnership Program pairs individuals with the foundation to aim to find solutions to help raise funds for specific items and equipment. They also have a program to address home accessibility and modifications.

SCORE Fund – The spinal Cord Opportunities Rehabilitation Endowment is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities with substantial out-of-pocket costs associated with specialized equipment. Their end goal is to facilitate rehabilitation and independence.

The Cindy Donald Dreams of Recovery Foundation – Committed to creating a positive change in individuals lives by helping individuals to receive the necessary equipment related to spinal cord and brain injuries. The foundation hosts fundraisers to purchase therapy and therapy equipment to promote health and a better quality of life.

HelpHOPElive – A national non-profit, HelpHOPElive supports community-based fundraising through a donation-based crowdfunding style campaign for people with unmet physical and medically related expenses.

U.S. Department Of Veterans Affairs - The U.S. Government offers disability compensation which is tax free and paid to Veterans with disabilities related to disease or injury incurred during active military service. This program also supports post-service disabilities which are considered related to disabilities incurred under circumstances of military service.

People with disabilities shouldn’t have to fear the looming threat of debt, an impoverished life, or the stigma of a life-altering physical disability. Support, funding and grants are available to help you regain your sense of self, your independence, and your integrity.

Using these possible financial granting and funding resources may help you to obtain adaptive equipment that enables you to live a more fulfilling, independent life.

New Call-to-action

Discharged: Understanding Home Care for the Physically Disabled

Nature designed the human body for movement and the architect of your home probably designed it for able-bodied people. Your loved one’s disability challenges both nature and the convenient layout of your home.

Disability causes a complete lack of, or significant decrease in, a person’s normal activity and movement. Immobility is a common but serious issue for people receiving care in hospitals, long-term care facilities and at home. Immobility can lead to complications that may result in serious illness, permanent disability, and even death. Fortunately, the preparations you make to your home today can help you maximize the quality of your loved one’s life tomorrow.

 

Assess Basic Mobility Challenges within Your Home

The changes you will need to make to your home will depend largely on the type and severity of the disability. You will need to consider whether your loved one can climb stairs, for example. Move them to a first floor room with close access to a large bathroom as necessary.

The adult wheelchair requires 60 inches of space to make a 360-degree turn, so you will need to clear out turnaround space in strategic areas throughout your house. A wheelchair requires at least 36-inch hallway clearance and 32 inches for doorways. The doorway threshold should be no higher than one-quarter inch.

 

The Kitchen

Food is relatively straightforward. Follow the express orders of your loved one’s doctor when it comes to food, but always provide your loved one with plenty of their favorite foods. Ask the doctor or registered dietician for help with meal strategies.

Consider counter height. The seat of most wheelchairs is only about 20-inches from the floor, which makes it difficult for someone in a wheelchair to reach a standard kitchen counter. By industry standards, the typical countertop is 36 inches off the floor. Eye level for a person in a wheelchair is 43 to 51 inches, according to the ADA, which means that your loved ones may not be able to use a standard kitchen counter comfortably while seated in a wheelchair.

Consider lowering cupboards. Cupboards are usually 18 inches above the countertop, which makes them well out of the reach of someone in a wheelchair.

 

Assets

After sustaining a disability, your loved one may find she has assets she can no longer use. These assets, such as cars, homes and property, businesses and even large collections can be difficult to manage and expensive to maintain. This is especially true as you take on the fulltime job of caring for your loved one.

Assets can also prevent your loved one from participating in some government programs. The Social Security Administration operates two disability programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Your family member may receive SSDI if thhe cannot work because their doctors expect the medical condition to last at least one year or result in death. Whether or not your loved one can get Supplemental Security Income depends on income and resources, which can include real estate, bank accounts, cash, stocks, and bonds.

You may be able to convert some of these assets into tools you can use to improve your family member’s mobility. Trade an unused motorcycle for a wheelchair lift for your home or vehicle, for example, or sell a summer home and use the money build a wheelchair-friendly addition onto your home.

As a family member, you may be able to receive money from Social Security. Visit the Social Security disability FAQ or website at www.SSA.gov, or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) to learn more.

 

Helping Your Loved One Sleep

The most common types of disabilities, such as arthritis, back problems, and heart trouble, can be quite painful. People with acute or chronic pain are more likely to have sleep problems that affect their daily lives. Sixty-five percent of pain-free people participating in a National Sleep Foundation said they slept well, but only 45 percent of those with acute pain and 37 percent of those with chronic pain said they had good quality of sleep. This lack of sleep can lead to higher stress, as 23 percent of survey participants with chronic pain reported higher stress levels, and only 7 percent of pain-free subjects said they feel stress.

Spending more time in bed can help your loved one recover from a disability faster and feel more comfortable, better rested and less stressed, but spending too much time in bed – or spending time in the wrong bed – can have negative consequences.

Immobilization can lead to bedsores, also known as pressure sores or decubitus, which are sores that develop on the hips, elbows and other places pressing against the bed. About 2.5 million people develop pressure sores in the United States each year, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Nationwide, pressure ulcers cost $9.1-$11.6 billion per year. If your loved one develops bedsores, it will cost anywhere from $20,900 to $151,700 per pressure ulcer to treat.

Immobilization can also result in additional complications, such as congestion in the lungs and other respiratory problems, heart and blood vessel disorders, slow bowel movements and constipation, and weak or fragile bones. Without proper support, these complications can be challenging.

While you can hire a caretaker to turn your loved one into different positions throughout the night to help your family member avoid immobility issues, this may not be the most cost-effective choice as it adds to already-dizzying medical costs. Furthermore, having a stranger awaken your loved one several times each night is annoying and, depending on your family member’s mental state of mind, somewhat frightening.

Depending on your particular situation, purchasing a specialized bed may be a better option than hiring night help. These beds essentially automate the patient turning process, moving your loved one smoothly from a horizontal position to 30 degrees to the left then 30 degrees to the right.

Lateral rotating medical beds are the best solution to maximizing quality of life. Timed rotational options keep your loved one from remaining in one position too long, thereby avoiding bedsores and other complications associated with immobility. Torso- and leg-raising systems prevent pressure from building on the body’s hot spots, where bedsores are most likely to happen. These beds are also quiet, so your family member sleeps soundly the whole night through. Low operating costs and handy features, such as voice-control options, make lateral rotating beds an easy choice during a complicated time.

Creating a safe, comfortable and efficient home environment depends largely on your loved one’s individual needs. Consult with doctors, nurses, and therapists to which services and adaptations are necessary.

New Call-to-action
1 [ 0 ]

“It’s difficult to put into words how much the Freedom Bed has changed our lives. The bed is very well engineered, simple yet sophisticated. Its not easy to engineer something that does so many things, yet keep it streamlined and elegant looking. After having lived with the beds (we now have two)  for two years we couldn’t imagine living without them. ”

~ WP Anchorage AK August 2013 (SCI)

View All Testimonials