Case study - how equipment helped Mike Wardle

Mike Wardle

A rotational bed delivers independence, greater comfort and assured safety to injured ex-Police Officer Mike Wardle

Conditions: Neurological issues, paralysis and osteoarthritis resulting from major spinal injury
Requirement: Rotational bed

Mike Wardle, a 55 year old ex-Police Officer from East Sussex, has chronic spinal nerve damage, paralysis and other associated conditions. He has been able to reduce his care needs through ownership of a rotational bed.

Mike graduated from Reading University and served in the Police Force for seven years. In 1990, he was assaulted whilst on duty in Gosport resulting in major injuries to his lower spine. He underwent several back operations which stabilised his vertebrate for 15 years during which time he could walk again. He returned to higher education and qualified with a degree in Radiography which led to a position at the Conquest Hospital, East Sussex.

Following another seven years in a job he enjoyed, Mike began to feel pain and weakness in his legs again. He had to give up his position with the NHS and since then his condition has deteriorated.

All associated with his original injury aged 28, Mike now has to manage continual pain resulting from a multitude of issues including a collapsed spine above his original fusion, multi-site osteoarthritis, nerve damage, leg paralysis and a cyst on the brain.

Mike focuses on being positive and is able to remain more independent thanks to a powerchair, Motability adapted car and a rotational bed. The bed is electrically operated and encompasses powered profiling, height adjustment and a rotational action that moves Mike from a lying to a fully upright seated position - ready for a safe wheelchair or sit-to-stand transfer.

The rotational bed means Mike can start his day on his own terms - a vital solution for him.

Mike explains: 'I was originally provided with a profiling bed by Social Services as I needed to keep my spine moving at night to avoid severe stiffness. Plus this stopped my kneecaps being dislocated when I am turned. However the only problem was that I was unable to get in and out bed independently because my quad muscles were too weak and I required two carers to assist me. I needed to find a better solution.'

Mike continues: 'I discovered the rotational bed through an online video, I showed it to my Occupational Therapist and told her it would be brilliant to have something like that. She contacted the supplier and one of their assessors brought an example of the bed to my house to make sure it met my requirements. The assessor said the bed would be customised for me as I am long in length between the knee and hip. The size of my bedroom was assessed to ensure there was adequate space for the bed's rotational action and surrounding wheelchair access - both were satisfactory for this bed.'

'However to meet Adult Social Services criteria, we had to do a comparison with a bed from another company. Nevertheless they were unable to provide the same bespoke adjustments. Plus when I pushed myself up using the side rails on their demo model, the left-hand one snapped off - much to the embarrassment of the engineer as it was being filmed for an Adult Social Services Committee. This reaffirmed that the rotational bed was the choice for me.'

Once funding was approved the bed was installed at Mike's home and now enables him to get in and out of bed independently. It has also reduced the need for two carers to one - delivering significant cost savings to the local authority. Plus Mike's single carer, James, is able to assist his client more effectively and with increased safety.

James comments: 'When I first started working with Mike, there had to be two carers to assist him with the old profiling bed for practical reasons and to meet moving and handling legislation. The old bed massively slowed the process of helping Mike get up in the morning. We would need to use a 'banana board' which was uncomfortable for Mike and placed a lot of stress on his knuckles and arms. It was a long, drawn-out process which caused a lot of discomfort. The new bed has eradicated all of that - it enables just a single carer to assist. In fact, with the powered rotational assistance and electronic adjustments provided, Mike can virtually do everything himself.'

James continues: 'Another benefit we have found is how much easier Mike's morning exercise regime is. With the old profiling bed, two carers would struggle to assist Mike with his exercises because of the fixed position of the side rails. This bed has better rail positioning and Mike does not need the assistance of carers to help him stretch and mobilise his joints.'

Mike does not have the support of a carer every day so the fact that he can get in and out of bed on his own terms is a significant benefit to his partner, especially as they have three young children. An essential part of the bed's functionality is its vertical seat lift. As Mike does not have any sensation in his legs, he has no weight bearing capabilities until his knees are 'locked'. Hence he needs stable support when performing a sit-to-stand transfer into his crutches. The Rotoflex bed rises vertically when it is in a seated position, i.e. without the tipping action of some rotating bed products from competitors. This ensures Mike remains safe and in control when exiting his bed. The vertical lift means that his balance is not lost because it intentionally doesn't tip like a riser chair. Mike adds: 'My body is normally sluggish first thing in the morning so I flatten the bed and then grab the rails to perform my exercises. My rotational bed is the start to my day. It is the start of my independence, without it I would go nowhere.'

'The bed also has a quality memory foam mattress, fitted sheets and a sewn-in pillow that doesn't move. Simple things that make such a big difference. At night, I wear an oxygen mask and sleep slightly elevated. The bed is very comfortable and has made a massive difference to me. It protects my back and I trust it to do so.'

'The bed is covered, clean and hygienic. My three children come into the bedroom sometimes and it is important that the bed is secure and prevents entrapment. We didn't feel my old bed was secure but the rotational bed is rock solid, with no shift. At the moment, I cannot use my wet room due to a leg ulcer which must be kept dry. As the bed is waterproof, it is easy and practical to have a bed wash.'

Mike concludes: 'At the end of the day, it is about trying to make the best of life with the problems you have. Equipment like this bed cuts social healthcare costs in the long run by reducing the number of carers needed. The rotational bed has given me quality of life.'

Case study supplied by Theraposture

Third party content
This article has been written by Theraposture, a third party content provider. may include hyperlinks to third-party content, advertising or websites. Any opinions, advice, services, or other information made available by third parties, including information providers and Users are those of the respective author(s) or distributor(s) and not of the Disabled Living Foundation.
Third party content is not covered by DLF's The Information Standard certification.