Many people living with chronic illness turn to a range of products which make life easier. Some conditions may lead to an individual needing to spend extended periods in bed. After an operation for example, there may be no choice. For these individuals, it’s important to find pieces of equipment which will help.
An overbed table for home use is similar to the equipment found next to most hospital beds. If you find yourself confined to bed for long periods, a table like this is useful furniture. Usually fitted with wheels, the feet of these tables roll underneath the bed, allowing easy positioning.
A table like this provides a stable surface from which you can eat meals, keep books, iPads, phones and anything else you might need readily to hand. When not in use, they are generally easy to roll out of the way.
Most models are available with a tilting table-top. This allows it to set at a different angles, which may be helpful for reading books or magazines, or watching a tablet screen.
Most tables are adjustable in height, so they can be set to fit the bed available. It is important you assess both your bed’s height and the space around it, to ensure there is enough room for the table.
Another consideration is the clearance height underneath the bed. If you have a divan, this may only be a narrow gap. Bear in mind that the legs and wheels of the table need to slide into it, so you may only have a small vertical space.
If there is not enough room for wheels, you might need to consider a table without them. Some models have horizontal legs and feet without wheels. The legs themselves slide across the floor and under the bed, needing very little in the way of clearance height.
If you select this option, ensure your flooring is suitable. These types of table work best with carpet, as they require the feet of the table to slide with minimal friction. Hard floors may be at risk of scratching.
Sitting for long periods in a bed may also lead to issues like pressure ulcers. Commonly known as bed sores, these can develop if you stay in one position for a long period. Even while asleep, people tend to move when in bed. Unfortunately, certain physical conditions and illnesses prevent this happening.
If you lose weight, you may find that the harder, bony parts of your body are at risk. Heels, elbows, buttocks and toes can all be vulnerable. Moisture on the skin through incontinence or from some other source can also increase risk.
Pressure cushions distribute body weight evenly, easing the pain of existing ulcers and reducing the risk of more occurring. The technology of pressure relief has developed over the years and various types of cushion are now available.
Many foam pressure relieving cushions are nodular. While the foam itself has weight distribution properties, gaps between the nodules helps air to flow, which in turn keeps the user cool.
This principle also applies to many gel-based pressure relieving cushions. Again, many of these have a nodular design, allowing air to flow while gel sacks efficiently distribute body weight.
As well as using pressure cushions, there are also practical steps to guard against bed sores. The most important of these is to try to change your position regularly. You may need help to do this, but it is vital. It is also important to prevent your skin becoming too moist or too dry. Either could make you susceptible to sores.
Keeping bed sheets flat and smooth also helps. Wrinkled sheets produce catching points which could affect the skin, especially if they are in contact with bony parts of the body. Fleece body protectors are available to protect those areas. These tend to fit loosely and invite airflow, while also gently padding the skin.