Case study - how equipment helped Amanda Worne

Amanda Worne

An adjustable bed is donated to Amanda Worne as part of DIY SOS life-changing accessible home conversion

The concern: Reduced mobility due to spinal injury
Solution: Double combination bed with dual profiling and variable height

After a bicycle crash at 50mph resulted in severe damage to her lower spine, Amanda Worne, aged 46 from Yapton near Arundel, West Sussex, now has a permanent disability and uses a wheelchair.

Following a nomination by a close friend, her family have received a complete home transformation thanks to the flagship TV home makeover programme DIY SOS.

As part of this 'Big Build' to remodel Amanda's house for wheelchair accessibility, a specialist adjustable double combination bed was also donated.

Amanda has four children aged between 13 and 19 and has always led a busy life, 'at a million miles per hour' as she describes it.

In between raising her children, Amanda has been a keen athlete regularly training for endurance events such as the London Marathon and 'Iron Man' competitions.

As a highly competent runner and cyclist, Amanda had reached a new peak in fitness and strength when she experienced a brake failure on her bicycle during a training session. She lost control of her bike on a remote downhill section of road, collided with a metal post and landed in a deep bramble-filled ditch.

Amanda injuries included a punctured lung and eleven fractures, five of which were to her spine.

As Amanda was not visible to passing motorists it was only by sheer luck a cyclist climbing the hill heard her faint cries and immediately called 999.

Amanda spent five and a half months in Stoke Mandeville hospital. She underwent two major back operations which included vertebrate removal, fusion and the insertion of posterior and anterior plates to stabilise her spine.

Amanda also had pneumonia during her hospital treatment.

Following consultations with Amanda's Occupational Therapist, the chosen supplier agreed to handcraft a double combination bed with profiling and variable height functionality on each side. The upholstery would be finished in a unique vibrant material to match the DIY SOS designer's scheme.

Amanda's double bed comprises of two individual mattresses and mechanisms that are enclosed in one surround. The profiling functionality allows the angle of the head and foot ends to be adjusted and the variable height means the complete sleeping platform can be raised or lowered.

Powered by German engineering, this bed provides independent adjustment of each side of the bed. This means Amanda and her husband can adjust their own position without disturbing each other.

The profiling gives postural support to Amanda when sitting up and she can raise her legs to reduce pressure and improve circulation.

By raising and lowering the bed, Amanda is able to easily and independently transfer into her wheelchair which was a significant struggle with her old standard bed.

Amanda comments: 'My bed has made a massive difference to my life. I can now sit up without having to struggle. It also means I can use the bed to elevate my feet. When you have a spinal injury, your circulation is quite harboured in a lot of ways so this elevation helps any fluid disperse. This bed is an absolutely vital part of my life transition.'

'It's really lovely to know that if I do struggle to get up in the morning, I have the backup of the bed to give me the support I need. I don't use the head end incline all the time as I what to retain tone in my stomach. However I have security in old age when I am going to struggle a lot more, I guess my bed is future proofed. It's really comfortable and the mattress is brilliant for my back, much more supportive than my old airflow system which I couldn't push against when trying to sit up. I also have the option of raising and lowering the bed so it fits to the height of my wheelchair.'

'I think mornings are a struggle anyway in life, in general. Then add a disability and a bed that doesn't work, equals a disaster. I used to have two voices in my head - one saying stay in bed and the other encouraging me to tackle the day. Now I don't have any of those contradictory thoughts, I wake up and it's totally different, like a massive cloud has been lifted that was weighing me down. Since having the bed I have being so much more aware of how much easier life is with it. I'm really grateful.'

Amanda adds: 'I now don't need a transfer board to get into bed from my wheelchair. With my old bed it was something that I had to us as it was too tall. I would regularly forget my board and leave it downstairs which was a real pain. Not needing a transfer board is important from a physiological point of view as I have eliminated one piece of kit.'

'My bed transfers are also so much quicker. When you become disabled you have to learn to be patient, everything takes a lot longer. So any small thing can make a massive difference, my bed having really low access is one of them.'

Amanda concludes: 'This bed 'is me', it has my name all over it, it's a Mandy bed! When I had my old bed I would lie awake at night, unable to get comfortable. I would sometimes resort to getting out of bed and sitting in my shower chair just so I could change my position. Now I can move myself at the touch of a button.'

'Once sleep breaks down it can affect everything in your life. I now feel refreshed and have a lot more energy during the day. My bed is really beautiful and just the best bed. I would recommend it to anyone with a disability; it is absolutely first-class.'

Case study supplied by Theraposture

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