Oesophageal Patients Association
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Adjustable bed recommendations please

I am two weeks post oesophagectomy and think it would be a good investment to buy an adjustable bed particularly as I am due a new mattress anyway. I need advice on which would be the best purchase and supplier please. Any advice or clues for research would be welcome. Thanks, Catlover

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In my experience (26 years since Ivor Lewis) this is the biggest and most important post op decision you can ever make.

We spend one third of our lives in bed, somewhat more than we do in our cars, but give the selection process rather less attention than we do in choosing our wheels.

The choice of bed can save your life - literally - think aspiration pneumonia. It can save you from the ravages of night-time reflux. More prosaically it will assist in promoting good quality rest which will go a long way towards helping to cope with the lifetime discomforts which usually follow gastro-eosophagectomy.

Do you have a budget in mind?

Are there any other considerations such as age, weight, partner, stairway access, etc, etc?

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Hi , I am 8 years post Ivor Lewis,one of the best investments made was double bed split into two separate mattresses with individual electric controls to raise and lower upper and lower end of each mattress. We bought ours from Dreams,they were very obliging,delivered it and installed it included a few bits of linen and most importantly reminded us that as we were buying for medical reasons the purchase was VAT free,so 20% saved, so make sure that you tell your supplier why you are buying.

Good luck for a full and complete recovery, oh and sweet dreams

David B

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Hi I have 2 both are as good as each other mechanically. 1 I bought from a charity shop and the other cost £2000 brand new. The mattress on the new one is a tempura mattress which is better than the sprung one. I am in the process of buying a foam mattress for the other bed. (I find it needs to be firm as my weight is all on my bum when the head and feet are up). I bought two so I could have a double bed for my partner to share. Foam mattresses with a topper and the gap is not noticeable

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My husband is 4 months post op, we decided to go for it and buy and adjustable bed, expensive but an investment in his recovery process. We wish we had done it ages ago as he is now sleeping so much better, very little of the old reflux problems, as he doesn't tend to slip down in bed any more. Previously we used the wedge, a 3 corner pillow plus 2 others, now he uses 2 pillows with the head of his bed elevated and slight elevation under his knees. Perfect.

I also have the luxury of my own adjustable bed so with a flick of a switch I am sitting up in comfort reading my latest book, or I am lying comfortably flattish on my side of the bed for sleeping. We decided on 2 single beds joined together, that fitted the space in our fitted bedroom furniture, and we bought from a small company based just outside Edinburgh so we were able to go and actually see the type of bed and try it out before buying. It cost us £1400 after the 20% vat deduction. The company delivered and set up the beds and took away our much loved old bed.

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There are some that can go into a W profile that help you avoid slipping down during the night (a problem that some people solve with a memory foam mattress topper (eg Dunelm), or a duvet underneath). I have been told that IKEA do adjustable beds. I do not use one myself so I am simply passing on what others have said.

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Hi Catlover50. I hope everything is going well for you? For us, we couldn't afford a new bed and my husband spent nearly 3 years struggling with pillows, wedges and blankets. He couldn't lay down at all and needed to be propped virtually fully sat up. He never slept well. Eventually I came across a second hand adjustable bed. For us as a couple it was great because it was a double - made up of two singles. Each single adjusted individually at the top and the bottom, which meant he could be much more comfortable, changing the position himself whenever needed, whilst I could remain flat. The foot raised too, which helped to stop him slipping down the bed. Something we hadn't thought of though, was when his health deteriorated, he needed a bed that raised up and down also (which ours didn't). If you are going to the expense of buying a new one and can afford it - I would buy the all singing all dancing bed that does it everything. Hopefully fingers crossed, your health will be good, but just incase, you don't want to spend around £2k on a bed and then need to change it again. Good luck to you.

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Hi Catlover. I am 11 years post-op, and I bought my bed a few months after my surgery. Personally I would say buy the best you can afford. I notice the difference when I go away on holiday. I take a wedge with me. It is good but in comparison the bed is miles better.

I was lucky at the time to be able to afford one. Not everyone can. My bed is a Dunlopillo. Ideally are good too.

I hope this is of some help. Best wishes for your recuperation.

Kind Regards

Steve

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I totally agree that it's an important investment. We got our bed VAT free from Betterlife (part of Lloyds Pharmacy) and it does have the W shape which keeps you from slipping down. BUT you should be a bit careful with the mechanism - my husband's side failed a few months ago and he swapped my side's across because he's the one who needs it after his oesophagectomy 6 years ago. I never used it anyway.

One small thing: we had to get new single sheets of course, and we should have got the longer length as the matresses are that much longer than standard.

Good luck, there are 2nd hand beds around and it's WORTH IT.

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We already had an adjustable bed before my Ivor Lewis but I still slipped down flatter during the night and so slept in a reclining chair for the first couple of months after the operation. I was just too used to the many years of sleeping on my left side to easily change. Now I can successfully stay tilted and on my back after 2 years of practice-- even with just a couple of pillows propped against a wall or bedstead in a hotel. My wife was not happy about the months in the chair but it was the only foolproof way--I tried everything in the way of altering my position with various devices in a bed before taking to the chair.

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Hi Carlover

Not cheap but tempura do a really good one. Around £4000 with mattresses (assuming super king). These beds always have 2 single mattresses so you can adjust each side separately.

Many Italian brands give the option of having electronic mechanisms as well as quite common in Italy and their furniture is usually very technological. I’ve ordered one of these and best topped with memory foam mattresses as these are best for mechanisms.

Hope this helps

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I bought an adjustable bed from Dreams. Wonderful. Best thing we have bought. Don’t forget you maybe able to claim the VAT back. We also bought a blow up wedge pillow for holidays, which we put under my mattress. Very rarely do I suffer from acid unless I have eaten the wrong foods or too late. I am not sure if Dreams do a 30 night trial, might be worth asking though.

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I am almost 3 years post IL. I sleep on my sides - left or right . I simply raised the top of the bed 300mm(12inches) and and I can lie out full length in perfect comfort . After a few months I got rid of the original base and made a special base from timber and ply with the slope built in which is very simple to do and cost very little. (This has the effect of lowering the overall height) A good quality mattress with a textured surface and a cotton type sheet will help to prevent slippage down the bed . I would highly recommend trying out raising the bed before purchasing an adjustable . The mattress on an adjustable has to be very flexible to accommodate the movement and from my hospital experience I dont find this type of mattress comfortable. Also I think the bed is more likely to be comfortable if it is in the "one plain from top to bottom" rather than with a fold as would be typical with an adjustable. Happy ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

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