- Huntington’s disease
- Frequent falls
- Hi-lo function
Description of case:
Forty-nine-year-old Susan experiences involuntary movements in all four limbs, as a result of Huntington’s disease. These movements can be very expansive and cause Susan to lose balance when mobilising and transferring; they have also resulted in several bed falls, as the movements continue whilst Susan is asleep. Susan lives with her husband Jim and was sharing a double bed until the movements began to disturb Jim, and so has had to sleep in another room.
Susan is falling out of bed whilst asleep each night, often more than once and frequently requires paramedic and hospital intervention due to significant injuries, including to her eye and shoulder; on one occasion she required stitches to her head.
Susan is able to mobilise independently and requires support from a riser recliner and toilet frame to enable her to retain her independence with her transfers. Susan required an intervention to reduce the risk of bed fall associated injuries, without impacting on her independence.
Provision of side rails would have prevented Susan from being able to transfer in and out of bed independently. A crash mat is likely to have increased the risk of falls as it would have been a trip hazard when attempting to stand and mobilise.
A FloorBed was put in place to reduce the risk of bed fall injuries. Once Susan has transferred into the FloorBed, she lowers it to the ground and the ultra-low mattress platform height of 71 mm, effectively turns the fall into a roll, which reduces the impact and therefore the likelihood of injury.
This has been very successful in reducing the occurrence of injury for Susan. The uncontrolled movements are still causing Susan to come out of the bed whilst asleep, however since provision of the FloorBed, Susan has not sustained any injuries as she is no longer falling, but instead rolling out of the bed.
Susan also benefits greatly from the hi-lo function, as she is able to use the controls independently to raise the bed, which enables her to retain her independence with bed transfers.
An intercom system has been put in place to alert Jim when Susan falls, and he is then able to assist Susan back to bed safely. Since provision of the FloorBed, Susan has not required paramedic intervention or further hospital admission.
The family has advised the Occupational Therapist that they are less anxious as they do not worry about Susan hurting herself as a result of a bed fall. Susan has also reportedly advised that she is very grateful for the FloorBed, as it has reduced the occurrence of injuries.