The bedroom and its bed
Elderly, ill or disabled people spend a lot of time in their bedroom. The bed is a private space to rest, which must be welcoming, safe and comfortable. Where a prolonged period of bed-rest is envisaged, it is also a matter of health.
For people required to stay in bed, it is essential to choose a specific mattress for prolonged bedrest in order to prevent pressure ulcers. These painful and potentially serious lesions develop on the skin over pressure points on the bones (usually the heel and sacrum) of people required to stay in bed for long periods and unable to mobilise alone. “Memory foam” mattresses gently mould to the body’s shape and can therefore help prevent pressure ulcers, as can “waffle” mattress overlays composed of separate foam blocks.
Whether using a medical bed or an adapted bed, the mattress is always important
Depending on the condition and needs of the bed-bound person, the bed may be medical or an ordinary bed that has been adapted.
- A medical bed has an electric control to raise or lower the mattress height, making it easier for the caregiver to lift the person and perform care procedures. The control unit can also be used to adjust the height of the head or feet. The bed is generally equipped with a hoist, to make it easier to lift the person into a semi-sitting position, and side bars to prevent falls.
- An ordinary bed can be adapted for prolonged periods of bedrest by the addition of elements such as removable side bars or support bars for additional safety, or cushions to raise the head or feet for greater comfort. N.B.: adapting the bedframe does not dispense with the need to choose a pressure ulcer prevention mattress for people at risk.
The little extras for greater comfort
The bed’s pillow must be comfortable for the individual concerned, with specific adaptation if necessary: for example, a neck pillow can help reduce the risk of pain and discomfort in people prone to neck, nape or shoulder pain. A small bed trolley table, that can be placed in front of the person as they sit up in bed is greatly appreciated for mealtimes, reading or the use of a laptop computer.