This was particularly significant to two families who were having sleepless nights over bedtime.
Five year old Ebony has Developmental Delay and tends to lie on her side and roll or push her legs against the rails of her bed. Her bed was fitted with a plastic bedrail which was not providing support which was increasing the risk of her falling out of bed.
Twins April and Angel have Rett Syndrome. They slept in matching hospital style beds which can be raised up and down. The beds had significantly large gaps between the bars and the rail and did not cover the entire length of the bed. The girls move in their beds while sleeping and this could potentially lead to them getting caught in the rails. Again, causing worry over the girls’ safety.
Volunteers Mike Atkinson, Detlef Czerniejewski and John Wallace from the Port Macquarie Group had their work cut out. There are many things to consider when designing new rails; avoiding the danger of entrapment or pinching where the rail folds down, ensuring that the design would fit with the family’s needs and also matching the rails to the aesthetics of the bed.
Possible entrapment points were assessed with a design developed to minimise this risk. The pinching danger was overcome by dropping the hinge line (where the rail folds) below the mattress level and covering the joint with a rubber membrane that folds outwards during closing.
When the rail was folded down, both beds needed to have a large enough gap between the rail and the floor, to reduce potential for a carers’ feet being crushed. Also in Ebony’s case, her hoist (which is used for transfers) extended beneath the bed. Rather than using timber for the whole rail, which would be heavy and expensive, the team used textilene infill panels to reduce the weight and cost but not sacrificing strength or durability.
Finally the team put a stained varnish finish on Ebony’s rail to match her bed and bedroom furniture.
The twin rails were painted with acrylic paint in keeping with the original design of the bed.
April and Angel’s mum Jodi was delighted with the end result, “now I’m not straining my back and there is nowhere for the girls to get caught.”
Bed modifications are important in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our clients. TAD needs to follow the correct process for assessing an individual’s needs, recommending the appropriate modifications and ensuring adequate follow up. Every type of modification request will be assessed on an individual basis to make sure that this occurs.