Case: 435 Year 2013
Introduction- a young person with severe learning difficulties has epileptic fits at night requiring high protective bed guards to be fitted when staying in his weekly respite facility. At home he has a bespoke (and very expensive) bed which is non transportable. He has a tendency to kneel whilst in bed and in view of his size/weight the bed guards need to be high & robust with soft surface, no sharp edges etc to prevent contact injuries during seizures.
The respite facility (and parent company) were unable to source a duplicate bespoke bed and the aim was to modify an existing old style hospital bed available at the facility. The new bed guards would become an integral extension of the bed and would fulfil his specific requirements.
(1) 1 metre high (above mattress level) bed guard all round
(2) lightweight -easily/ quickly assembled & removed by care staff (without use of spanners etc)
(3) can be flat packed when not in use
(4) can be pressure washed.
(5) “see through” material (for carer monitoring) , soft with resilience.
(6) access panels on both sides for personal care by carers.
(7) hinged foot end panel to allow hoisting of client in/out of bed
(8) able to contain adults up to 15stone
(9) Installed equipment size to still allow transit through domestic doorways
(10) Installed equipment to allow normal bed function.
(a) Projected costs for this project were an order of magnitude larger than normal case costs and advice was sought from Remap UK at the outset.
(b) a circular was sent out to other Remap panels as to whether anyone had previous experience of a similar problem, which generated a number of replies. One in particular ,see photo below, for a hyper active young teenager was a very useful model to base our design on.Subsequent correspondence about different types of netting etc was very helpful.
(c) inspection of the hospital bed in the respite facility showed detachable head and foot boards with 25 x 25mm box section which fitted into rectangular sockets at each corner. These sockets could then be used to support the metal frame of the bed guards.
(d) alloy tubing was used for the frame as it was lighter and would not rust like mild steel although it would require more specialised (& expensive) TIG welding. This was sourced- cut to length , from a local steel stockist (SJ Andrew) for £120 and welded up into two 2 metre long side frames with extended legs (for the corner sockets) and two smaller 1 x 1metre (approx) frames for the head & foot ends. These were initially tack welded for a trial fit and needed slight adjustment in length before being finally welded up.
(e) much time & effort was spent researching suitable netting options. The initial idea of using plywood panels with foam padding was dropped due to weight considerations and more importantly these would block any light and give the bed guards an unacceptable box or cage like appearance ! A trip to Newlyn harbour (main trawler harbour in the South West))confirmed a number of different net sizes but all of these were either thin nylon or had a harsh rough thick texture which could cause friction burns. A soft netting of the correct size was sourced from Leicester but attaching the zips was still going to be problematic.
(f)Eventually Sailtech (local sail maker in Penryn) came up with the solution -advising the use of black stretchy “airtex” material widely used on trampolines . This was soft and could also be sewn . Tough edging material was used on all sides of the four panels and also for attaching a pair of 5ft long zips inserted into the side panels to form a U shape. This was accomplished in record time by his hard pressed staff and generously, at cost price : £150
(a) The four trampoline panels were attached to their respective metal frames by stainless screws at 3″ intervals on cup washers (to prevent future tearing) . This required a measure of stretching on some seams as the edging material had caused some shrinkage but after 350 screws this was accomplished.
(b) The side panels fitted neatly into their sockets, with minimal movement so that wooden shims were not required (to our great relief) . The open ends of the frames were plugged with plastic inserts . A pair of stainless hinges were attached to one side of each head & foot panel with toggle clips on the opposite side. This allowed both ends to be opened & closed securely. Finally pipe lagging was fixed to the top horizontal rails and likewise the corner vertical rails by means of cable ties so all metal surfaces were shielded from causing contact injuries.
Conclusion– this project has taken two and a half months for completion by two engineers and much support /help /advice from our busy chair person. It is probably the most ambitious project undertaken by our branch and would “blown” our annual budget had due allowance not been given by the CEO at Head Office who has been very supportive throughout. The feedback we got at the outset from other branches was very helpful and we have made a number of useful contacts in the process . It has cost ~£600 which is somewhat less than the alternative market- supplied secure bed facility costing £7,000! The bed guards, now undergoing formal evaluation tests, should become, in time, a useful community facility allowing more clients with similar problems to access respite care.
Case 497 Year 2015
Turn to Starboard –is a charity based in Falmouth, Cornwall dedicated to rehabilitating war damaged ex-servicemen, especially from recent campaigns in Iraq & Afghanistan (see www.turntostarboard.co.uk/. Their aim is to enable ex-servicemen to gain useful sailing qualifications eg: RYA Yachtmaster which can be used a stepping stone to gaining future employment outside the services.
Last year the Prince’s Trust generously donated a traditional gaff rigged 92 ft wooden schooner-Spirit of Liverpool but now renamed- Spirit of Falmouth , previously used for youth adventure training which can take up to 12 ex-servicemen for training cruises.
However the boat was not immediately suitable to be used by persons with physical disabilities eg prosthetic limbs and required a number of alterations in the fore peak & main cabin to ensure their safety in challenging sea conditions. These were undertaken by the Cornwall branch of Remap in three stages.
Stage 1 – it may come as a surprise to non sailors how difficult calls of nature can be in a boat which is being thrown about in a violent seaway. In addition there are multiple layers of clothing eg: wet weather gear & life jackets to remove . The crucial factor is to maintain one’s balance & hence one’s “aim” -especially difficult for men who (understandably) insist on standing up for a pee. To this end a pair of substantial hand rails were secured above both toilets (called “heads” on board) and a foam backed fore-head rest fitted . A pair of lower hand rails were fitted either side of the toilet door for holding on whilst “sitting” . These simple measures are proving to be very popular with crew.
Stage 2- hand rails were fitted to the fore mast in the forepeak, where most of the crew sleep and also along the sides of the cabin . Lap seat belts were fitted in the pilot saloon to prevent off duty crew from sliding around due to the motion of the boat.
hand rails on fore mast
hand rail to assist climbing up to the pilot saloon from the cabin area.
lap seat belts in the pilot saloon
Stage 3 – finally a boarding ladder with carefully designed hand holds was constructed in Utile (mahogany) to enable easy boarding from the RIB when at anchor.
boarding ladder with RIB alongside
one happy user!