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A Guide to Bed Accessories

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A Guide to Bed Accessories
The following is a brief guide to the different accessories that are designed to make life easier for elderly or disabled people whilst they are in bed. However, please note that every individual's needs are different. Customers should base their purchasing decisions on the user's particular needs and preferences and, where appropriate, upon advice from medical and care professionals.

Types of Bed Accessory

We all spend a large part of our lives in bed, resting, sleeping, reading or recuperating from an illness or injury. Recognising that the bedroom plays such an important role in people's lives, manufacturers have developed a wide range of daily living aids, some of which are listed below.

  • Bed rails, bed sticks and grab rails: designed to provide support during transfers and, in some cases, to help prevent falls, these products are covered in more detail in our Buyer's Guide to Bed Rails.

  • Standing aids: from ceiling poles to hoists and carer-assisted standing aids, these products are explained in our Guide to Standing and Transfer Aids.

  • Repositioning aids - these can range from ceiling or wall-mounted supports to 'rope ladder' style devices that enable the user to 'climb' to a sitting position. Other helpful aids include bed blocks, which are firm, easily gripped handles that can be used over soft bedding, and - for people with limited movement in their legs - electrically powered leg lifters, which  can be an invaluable aid to independence.

  • Mattress elevators - for some people, sitting up in bed requires more support than a few pillows bunched behind the back. The solution is a mattress elevator - a folding frame that can be placed under the mattress and raised or lowered using an electrically powered air pump. A cheaper, simpler alternative is a folding backrest, which will sit on top of the mattress and can be used with or without pillows. However, whilst these are much cheaper, they must be erected manually so they are only suitable for people who retain a good level of independence.

  • Bed safety devices - for some people, the biggest risk in the bedroom is that of a fall, so there are several products that have been developed to deal with this. As noted previously, bed rails can provide added security, particularly when combined with soft, padded bumpers that help to ensure that the user cannot bang himself or herself against the bars, and which can also act as a safeguard against the user trapping a limb between rail and mattress. Other safety devices include fall mats, which are placed alongside the bed and will cushion the blow in the event of a fall, and a wide variety of communications systems, emergency alarms and carer call systems.

  • Bedding protectors - for those who suffer from incontinence, there are both washable and disposable bed pads, which are highly absorbent and have a waterproof backing layer that keeps the bed and mattress well protected. Waterproof bedding is also available in a variety of sizes and may include elasticated sheets, top-sheets, duvet covers and pillow cases.
  • Overbed tables - whether for reading, eating or the pursuit of a favourite hobby, an overbed table can be a wonderfully useful accessory. Common designs include conventional bed trays with small, fold-away legs that stand on the bedding itself, and floor-standing tables, some of which can be wheeled in or away from one side of the bed. Useful features to consider include height adjustability, tilting tops - to facilitate reading and writing - and easy manoeuvrability, which may also allow the table to be used elsewhere in the home, such as over a favourite chair. When choosing a mobile table, check the clearance under the bed - some divan style beds, for example, sit very close to the floor and there may be insufficient room for a table with a frame and castors.

Click to view our Beds & Bedding department

Some our popular bedroom aids:

Complete Care Shop, a trading name of Nottingham Rehab Limited, seeks to ensure that the contents are accurate but visitors should be aware that every individual's needs are different. Customers should therefore base their purchasing decisions and other actions upon the user's particular needs and preferences and, where appropriate, upon advice from medical and care professionals. Please click to see our disclaimer.
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