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Helping Philip get into bed

  • Ian D Midgley
  • Shelved

(posted by Susan Iwanek)
Scan Giannuzzi and Doug Moutrie of the Medway/Swale panel would very much welcome any input from members across the network on solving this difficult problem. The client, Philip, explained it as follows before Scan and Doug went to visit him. Philip said:

“Remap has been extremely helpful to me over a number of years for which I am very grateful. I am a spastic quadriplegic aged 67 living on my own as I have done since 1995.

All this time I have been able to get in and out of bed independently with the help of a mattress variator and a leglifter provided by social services.

However, I am now unable to get my legs onto the bed using the leglifter I have and am having to employ someone which costs £12 for every visit, which I cannot afford and which reduces my independence.

I recently discovered a powered version of a leglifter made by Theraposture – see links below – which I thought might have solved this problem.  Social Services arranged a visit by their rep who immediately said that their equipment couldn’t be fitted to a bed with a mattress variator which I need to get up in the morning. So that seemed to be a dead end.

The last link, the NZ version, shows how it is fitted to bed and says it can be fitted on a normal bed.

Any possible solution would be a complex engineering project, I guess, which would require a motor but was hoping if the fitting to the bed could be adapted to allow for the variator it could be operated in the same way as the Theraposture product by lifting my legs onto the bed.

I am very much hoping someone might be prepared to talk over possible solutions with me as it would enable me to regain my independence and would make a great contribution to my quality of life.”

A few days later Scan visited Philip and reported as follows:

“I visited Mr Dangerfield Saturday morning and again Saturday evening at 22.30 when he went to bed, to see what he has to do to get into bed. The situation is really very difficult. Doug and I believe that this is a question of needing a hoist to solve the problem.

I have attached some photographs that might help to understand the situation. When the legs are lifted by the leg lifter he is on his back across the bed, but the carer has to lift his legs onto the bed and turn him at 90 degrees. To do this mechanically it would require quite a complicated engineering construction or a hoist.

We would be most grateful if anyone can help.”

If you think you can help please respond below or contact Scan at


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7 responses to “Helping Philip get into bed”

  1. Harry Davis says:

    Beds are available which turn the whole mattress. Thes can be seen on
    They are of course very expensive.

  2. Helen Reed Cheshire Panel says:

    There are other electric leg lifters on the market – try Mangar International or Centrobed. Both these companies also supply mattress variators, so should be able to discuss compatability matters. I think that both of these products can be fitted to a profiling bed so that would be another solution

  3. Diane M says:

    I had this problem some years ago with a gentleman who desperately wanted to remain independent and manage his own bedtime.
    We tried a theraposture leg lifter which didnt do enough for him.We ended up purchasing a rotoflex bed .This was very expensive but was looked at as invest to save as it would limit the amount of care input he required.
    I note they now make a chair bed

  4. Alan Blackham says:

    An idea which I had – not sure if it is workable or not, but here it is anyway:

    I thought that rather than getting into some complex mechanical device to try and lift his legs then turn his body on the bed, if an inflatable heavy duty plastic “bag” of the correct shape could be made which when deflated just lies flat on the bed (maybe even under the sheets) but when inflated it lifts his legs and eventually as it fills completely forms a nice ramp which if not causing his body to twist will make it much easer to do so – maybe this would do what he requires?

    A diagram can be seen here – (the black part is the inflated device)

    All that would be requires is a small air pump which inflates it and later reverse the pump to fully deflate it.
    I have seen a car lifted with a plastic bag being inflated in such a way so it would certainly be powerful enough to lift a man.

    Of course getting the shape right and making such a thing may not be as easy as it sounds but it would be very cheap and avoid any mechanical moving parts which could pose a safety risk etc.

    This if it worked would lift him onto the bed, moving him back off the bed I guess would require a second ramp in the other direction………

  5. Keith W says:

    As the Theraposture leglifter can be used with the Theraposture standard fully-adjustable bed, the immedite solution seems to be to abandon the mattress variator and get a new bed.

    However, I’d guess that,even had the leglifter and variator been compatible, it wouldn’t have addressed what I think is the problem – namely that the guy no longer has the strength to reposition himself on the bed, even with his legs lifted for him.

    What I have seen for such circumstances was a system using two fabric tapes traversing the bed, with a section of sheet, about a metre wide, fixed between them. The tapes then went on to rollers and a spring tensioner on one side and a motor-driven roller on the other.

    To go to bed, the sheet section is positioning in the “landing area” and the user transfers from wheelchair to it. The leg lift is then operated, followed by the motor drive to pull sheet, plus user, to the opposite side of the (double) bed. The user then rolls off the sheet onto the normal bedlinen, with the tensioned tape still beneath. The head-end of the mattress can then be raised, as necessary.

    To get up, the user lowers the hea end of the mattress until it is flat, rolls themselves back on to the transfer sheet and operates the controls to allow the tapes to pull the sheet, plus user, to the “landing area”. They then use the leg lift, plus a bed-handle to transfer back to the chair.

    ISTR that it was possible to have a longitudinal as well as lateral drive, for those users unable to pull themselves up the bed. Again by positioning the relevant sheet and rolling on and off it, with the bed level. Rolling is needed so that the lateral tapes don’t cause a problem when the longitudinal tapes are moving.

    This system may be suitable as it does sound as if the client has some limited mobility and may possibly be able to roll to and fro on a level bed.

  6. Andrew New says:

    There is another type of leg-lifter on the market that helps to turn the patient as you say is required as well as lift the legs onto the bed. Have a look at, click the “hoists” button at the top of the page and then the “leg lifter” button.

  7. John Hill says:

    My Grandson who is 12 and confined to a wheelchair has a mono-rail with a hoist that runs over his bed.This hoist can lift upto 30 stones in safety and operates with a sling,it sounds to me as though this might provide a solution.

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