Beds & Mattresses

The muscle weakness caused by your SMA may mean that you need a specialist bed and / or mattress to keep you comfortable and safe at night. You may have always needed a specialist bed but your current one is getting very old or not working as well, or this might be new for you. An example is an electric profiling bed that’s divided into sections to allow areas of the bed to be positioned at different heights and angles, depending on what’s needed for posture and comfort. Some adults use a profiling bed which can be programmed to offer ‘side tilt’ during the night which may mean that they don’t need a carer to turn them.

There are also devices available which can be fitted to standard profiling beds which assist carers to turn someone in a safe manner. 

Mattresses need to be compatible with the bed provided and different ones suit different preferences and needs. Some adults use memory foam mattresses, others are assessed as needing electric pressure-relieving mattresses, which give some change of movement (and pressure areas) throughout the night. 

Some people also find a sleep system (which uses wedges and rolls to support the body) helpful. Your OT (occupational therapist) can advise you what’s available and what may best suit your needs. If you don’t have an OT, you can ask your GP to make a referral. This website may well be helpful: www.dlf.org.uk/factsheets/beds

Some people find it useful to buy a portable electric pressure relieving mattress to take on holiday or for when they stay away from home. These however, can't be funded via statutory services.

Those of you who’ve always required help to move or turn may be familiar with the possibility of having satin or cotton ‘slide’ sheets on top of the mattress, which can make it easier for whoever’s helping you. If you're experiencing any difficulties with night time positioning / turning you can ask for advice about this from an occupational therapist.

Page last updated: July 2019