Alan Livett has Motor Neurone Disease (MND). He has no use of his legs, his arms are failing and he has limited use of his hands. In addition, he suffers from a back problem which means he needs to move and stretch out his back at regular intervals to achieve any level of personal comfort.
As Alan is unable to move himself, his developing mobility problems had reached a stage where he required carers to come in during the night to reposition him, both for his own comfort and to avoid the potential for pressure ulcers. This was proving disruptive both for Alan and for his family, aggravated by the fact that sometimes this did not happen at the right times to ensure he remained comfortable.
To further complicate matters, one of Alan’s major problems was coping with the anxieties inherent in his progressive condition, chiefly his increasing concern about loss of independence. Although Alan still has full speech capabilities, he was worrying about the impossibilities of communicating his requirements for achieving a comfortable position if he were unable to speak.
The combination of two new developments has made a massive difference to Alan’s quality of life. The first is the Comfier, a fully adjustable, in-bed positioning system. Used in conjunction with a profiling bed, the Comfier consists of ten linked inflatable tubes, each of which can be individually inflated and deflated to increase or decrease the amount of support under any part of the body, at any time.
This modular design allows infinite adjustment of the firmness and shape of the surface on which the individual is lying. Additional adjustment below the head area gives added comfort to suit individual preferences.
How the adjustments to the inflatable tubes are made is of particular significance. A simple handset is available, but for those with more limited mobility, like Alan, an easy to use retinal scanning system can be installed to provide total independence, allowing each individual to reposition to suit their own comfort levels as and when required, using eye gaze software.
The second ground breaking development is Sidhil’s M.A.P™ system (Monitor, Alert, Protect). For people forced to spend time in one position, pressure ulcers present a significant risk. This issue is of particular importance for those with reduced sensation and therefore no awareness of developing pressures which can cause skin damage and breakdown.
Alan uses Sidhil’s M.A.P.TM system in conjunction with his Comfier surface to monitor his condition. The M.A.P™ system sits on top of the Comfier and works by uses a pressure sensing mat to identify high and low pressure areas between the individual and the support surface. The outer layer of this mat consists of a medical grade biocompatible material, which houses thousands of sensing points capable of accurately imaging the body of the person lying on the support surface.
This information is sent to a monitor attached to the mat, where it is displayed as a real time, colour coded high resolution image, with areas of high pressure clearly delineated in red and orange, and lower pressure areas showing as green and blue.
This image makes it easy to see exactly where the areas of high pressure are developing, allowing Alan to effect correct and timely repositioning by adjusting his Comfier to reduce pressure in the identified areas. The M.A.P™ system enables real time monitoring and management of pressure distribution, and Alan uses his bedside monitor to identify areas where pressure is building, then makes the relevant adjustments to his Comfier to alter his position and relieve this.
Alan is delighted with his Comfier and M.A.P™ combination. “Having the opportunity and ability to change position in bed independently is fantastic!” he stated. Most importantly, using the MAP and Comfier together gives Alan the independence to manage his own positioning, ensuring he remains comfortable at all times and is not at risk of developing pressure ulcers.