December 14, 2016

The Ultimate Gift: Give the lasting Gift of Mobility

santa-and-cart-4

Looking for the ultimate gift?As we head into the holiday season, many wonder what to get the parent or grandparent who has it all.

If your family is like many of ours, we have aging relatives who could benefit from a mobility device – whether that’s a lift chair, scooter or portable power chair – but have been reluctant to pursue one on his or her own. Why not, then, consider giving your loved one the ultimate gift: the gift of mobility.

We surprised a grandfather in our family with the gift of mobility last year, and it’s turned out to be quite the gift. Like many as he aged, he saw slowing down as part of the process. He slowly spent more and more time in the house rather than outdoors doing what he loved. As family members, we brought up the topic of scooters in recent years, but he was resistant, not realizing the expanded mobility it would bring back to his life. As a result, on Christmas last year, we rolled in a red travel scooter with a red bow. To our joy, he took to it immediately, touched that we’d gotten him a true gift. See, as he drove the scooter up and down the block for the first time, he shared with us all of his thoughts of what he could do with his enhanced mobility.

And, his scooter has proved the ultimate gift. Over the past year he’s not just out-n-about more, but he went on a cruise and took his grandchildren to Disneyland. The scooter has been a gift to his wife and family, as well, in those ways.

This holiday season, as you think of what to get you loved one who has it all, think about what mobility needs he or she may have. After all, sometimes the gift of mobility is the ultimate gift.The ultimate Gift

December 9, 2016

Prioritizing Pressure Management: Reducing the Risks of Seated Pressure Sores

pressure management

Prioritizing Pressure Management: Reducing the Risks of Seated Pressure Sores

Why would we develop seated pressure sores, anyway? Here’s a simple physiological fact: as humans, our bodies aren’t designed to sit for long periods. As padded as some of our posteriors may seem, nature didn’t intend for them to handle concentrations of seated body weight indefinitely. And, unfortunately, for those of us with mobility impairments, remaining in a seated position for extended periods can lead to a very serious and debilitating condition called decubitus ulcers – more commonly called pressure sores.

Seated pressure sores occur when bony areas rub away at tissue. Many assume that pressure sores occur from the outside, in. however, it’s in fact bony areas pressing or rubbing against tissue, from the inside, out that causes pressure sores. And, this is among the reasons why they’re so dangerous – by the time we see a pressure sore, serious tissue damage has already occurred, often requiring surgery and months of bed rest.

So, as those often seated, how do we prevent pressure sores? This is where individual practices of pressure management come in.

It Starts With Seat and Back Cushions

It’s natural to think of a seat cushion simply as a padded surface to sit on. However, when it comes to pressure management, a cushion is truly a physiologically-engineered medical necessity. Pressure management cushions serve three foremost roles (and these apply to both seat and backrest cushions):

pressure management cushion for Seated Pressure Sores

Jay J3 cushion

 

  • Distributing weight as evenly as possible
  • Allowing pressure points, such as the sacrum/coccyx, to immerse (sink) into the cushion, reducing pressure
  • Reducing shearing (pulling of the skin and tissue

back cushion to prevent Seated Pressure Sores

The more evenly pressure is distributed across the seating surface, the less pressure is on any one point, thus decreasing the risk of a seated pressure sores developing. A cushion with immersion characteristics – commonly made of air cells, gel, or layers of memory foam – allow pressure points to sink in and reduce pressure. And, a low-shear (slick) cover reduces pulling on skin and tissue. When the three are combined, optimal pressure management occurs.

There are a range of seat and backrest cushions on the market, but looking for these three characteristics is key to pressure management.

 

You Must Shift Your Weight

A pressure management cushion and backrest is only half of the equation to preventing seated pressure sores. The other half is weight shifts. Weight shifts are just as they say – it’s shifting your weight off of pressure management areas. For example, lateral weight shifts involve leaning to each side to temporarily relieve pressure on areas of your posterior. Similarly, a forward lean takes pressure off of your back and tailbone region. For those wheelchair users who can’t perform manual pressure shifts, there is tilt and recline seating that shifts one’s weight. There are additional pressure relief methods, and all should be approved as safe and effective by your clinician or healthcare professional. Regardless of the method used, the clinical community recommends that those at risk of pressure sores perform weight shifts every 15 to 20 minutes. And, when our schedules allow, lying on our side on a bed for a bit to eliminate pressure altogether can be among the best forms of pressure management.

Shifting Our Priorities

For those of us who rely on mobility products, in seated positions, it’s vital that we make pressure management a priority. However, when done right – getting a pressure management seat and back cushion, as well as performing weight shifts – we can focus less on our posterior and more on our everyday lives with health and comfort.

December 6, 2016

Sleep Better-sleeping together!

sleep better

When the Doctor prescribes a hospital bed, many people, especially couples are reluctant. She doesn’t want the “medical look” of a hospital bed in their home. He says they sleep better when they sleep together!

An email from one of our customers:

“Ronnie,

I hope you won’t think this is silly, but…my wife and I have slept together nearly every night for 30 years. Now due to a medical condition, the doctor is recommending that she sleeps in a hospital bed. We don’t want to sleep apart, and my wife does not want to ruin the décor of our home! Do you have any suggestions that might help us go along with doctor’s orders, but still sleep together as a couple?

Here’s hoping-

Walter”

Dear Walter,

Of course I don’t think you are silly! Sleeping with your loved one is one of life’s sweet and simple gifts, and why give that up if it’s not absolutely necessary. I’m glad there are options available to you and other couples facing the same situation. Your best choice will ultimately depend on the reason for her doctor’s recommendation of a hospital bed, but let’s discuss three of the most common ones.

  1. Sleep Apnea is a big issue. Many times this condition responds well to sleeping with the head of the bed elevated.
  2. Acid Reflux. People with this condition will sleep better with the upper body elevated higher than the stomach. Adjustable beds can assist with this digestive disorder.
  3. Back Pain. One of the most common complaints in America today, can often be relieved by sleeping with knees slightly bent, and the head slightly elevated.      Sleep better in a Reverie Adjustable Bed

All three of these conditions can be alleviated by sleeping in a hospital bed, since the head and foot ends of hospital beds are able to be raised and lowered placing the head or feet at an angle.  Hospital beds are covered as a Medicare Capped Rental item, if a beneficiary qualifies for one medically, and you rent the bed through the Medicare contracted supplier for your area. Unfortunately, hospital beds are narrow- generally 36″ wide- so they only accommodate one person. Not all that attractive. Hospital bed mattresses are not exactly as comfortable as one might wish for, either! It may be that the doctor prescribed a hospital bed since he or she knew it would accomplish her need for special positioning, and be covered under Medicare.sleep better with an acid-reflux-bed

Adjustable Beds offer basically the same positioning options to help you sleep better, using a more sophisticated hand-held remote control. One major advantage is they come in regular bed sizes- Twin, Full, Queen and King, allowing couples to sleep better, together as usual. Many models offer a size Split Queen or Split King also- which lets you sleep side-by-side, but each person has control over their own side of the bed.  Adjustable beds offer a great selection of luxurious mattress choices as well. Pillow tops, Memory foam, Latex, all the styles- and they look like regular furniture when they are in the flat position. Some models also incorporate wave massage to help with circulation and to achieve the type of relaxation that will help you sleep better. Nothing medical about the appearance at all!

Just so you know, Adjustable beds are not covered by Medicare, they are a cash purchase item only.

sleep better in a supernal-bedSome Adjustable beds also incorporate special high-low adjustments which can further aid certain medical needs. For instance the 185 Hi-Low bed by Flex-a -Bed can raise up to an overall height of 32 inches from the floor. Raising the bed level that high provides a great working height for caregivers- perhaps when bathing a patient in bed, or other patient care related needs.  Beds that lower down closer to the floor can assist those who must slide transfer into a wheelchair from bed. Beds that lower very close to the floor can be used as an additional safety measure for folks who either fall out or want to get out of bed when they shouldn’t. Many Adjustable beds can be ordered with side rails as well, to help folks stay safe when entering and exiting their bed.

Walter, I hope that you will speak with the physician, and ask if an adjustable bed would provide the same features he or she was seeking when they suggested a hospital bed. If so, take the time to view our complete selection at Spinlife.com.

Wishing you all the best!

Ronnie

 

November 30, 2016

Celebrating the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2016

In 1992, the United Nations founded the “International Day of Persons with Disabilities,” celebrated annually on December 3rd, around the world.

In 1992, the United Nations founded the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, celebrated annually on December 3rd, around the world.

The theme for 2016’s International Day is, “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want,” which draws attention to the U.N.’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals that strive to create a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities.

What’s inspiring about this year’s theme is that the “17 goals” don’t stem from merely those with disabilities, but they are literally the U.N.’s initiatives for all people around the world.

The goals range from ending hunger to quality education to gender equality to climate action, and so on. Truly, what this year’s theme says is that people with disabilities are… well… just people after all. That’s an empowering, inclusive world view.

See, among the foremost reasons those with disabilities have been historically disenfranchised around the globe is because their needs – read that, our needs, among those of us with disabilities – have been viewed as somehow different. Of course, there’s never truly been a difference. Those of us who have disabilities have always needed, wanted and deserved what everyone else needs, wants and deserves – that is, education, family, community and career, to name a few. Yet, over modern decades, in modern societies, our supposed needs have been noted as “different,” and in that well-meaning but skewed societal view, we’ve consequently been treated differently. For example, we were given “equal access” to architectural barriers, which often really meant a separate entrance, as opposed to “universal access,” where everyone has the same architectural access, walking, wheeling or otherwise.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities

However, this year, on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the U.N. has put a stake in the ground. The U.N. has proclaimed that the needs of those with disabilities are the needs of all people – there is no difference. And, let us hope that the U.N.’s 17 goals for mankind come to fruition because then we will simply have the International Day of People, a day that celebrates true equality for all.