“Look at this view,” Alphena Franklin-Amor said from her bed as she looked out over Comox Bay. “It sure is beautiful.”
Her bright blue eyes briefly focused on a sail boat drifting in the distance before she turned her head back and smiled, lighting up the room.
Last year Alphena was moved into her room with a view in Oceanview , the eastern wing of St. Joseph’s Hospital’s residential care facility called The Views. Like many of the 117 residents in the Views, Alphena spends the majority of her day in her bed.
What does her bed mean to her?
“Well, I don’t mind any bed that I’ve ever slept in,” she replied, “but everyone deserves a good bed.”
For many of us, a bed is a place to rest our heads at night in an attempt to catch “40 winks.” If we’re lucky, we might spend six to eight hours there, wake up, get out of bed and carry on with our day. For the frail and elderly, a bed is a significant part of their lives, and a comfortable bed can make all the difference in the world when it comes to quality of life.
Wilma McKenzie has lived in Eagleview at The Views for almost 20 years. She requires the full-time use of a wheelchair during her day, so a good sleep in her bed at night is essential to her.
“I don’t walk at all you see, and I’ve gotten used to it, being that way,” Wilma said. “There’s no grumbling; it’s not anyone’s fault – it’s just the way life is for me.”
“But it spoils your whole day and night if you don’t have an adequate sleep. It’s very important to get sleep and rest.”
There are currently 25 beds and mattresses needing replacement in The Views. Replacing these with new models of specialty beds and pressure-relief mattresses is critical to the safety, comfort and quality of life of these frail and elderly residents.
“Any kind of less expensive mattress has the potential for causing skin issues, so when you look at these better quality ones, they prevent the development of pressure ulcers and add to the resident’s comfort,” says Siri Kelpin, an Occupational Therapist in The Views.
“A bad sleep could impact a resident’s function the next day, as their quality of life is going to be poor while they are awake. When they are up they might have more pain, back pain or be uncomfortable in and out of bed.”
The UltraCare beds that will replace the older equipment have safety side rails and can adjust into an upright position to allow residents to eat in their rooms or look out their windows. They can also lower to 7 inches from the ground to significantly reduce injuries from falls while optimizing staff safety and reducing muscle strains. The new pressure-release mattresses enhance comfort and therapeutic care while preventing and treating pressure bed sores.
“Our residents may spend four hours out of their bed and 20 hours in their bed, so having a quality mattress is very important,” Siri explains. “A poor mattress over time will cause skin issues if someone is lying on it not moving at all. They could develop open sores that never heal, they could develop chronic pain in their joints and backs, and that would affect their quality of life and ability to participate in activities, or in their care.”
“I just want people to live out their last days as comfortable as possible.”
Supplying the Comox Valley’s most frail and elderly population with a comfy bed and a good night’s sleep is a small gesture that can go a long way in their everyday lives. With the help of our community, we can ensure that our parents and grandparents, friends and neighbours can get the rest and comfort they deserve.
“We are lucky to be here,” Alphena said about The Views. “It’s close to home, and it’s something people should be donating to.”
Please consider supporting our fundraising goal of $68,000 to purchase 25 new specialty beds and mattresses for St. Joseph’s Hospital’s residential care facility (the beds and mattresses purchased will transfer to the new Views after its redevelopment on the St. Joseph’s site).
We are also currently raising funds for:
2 Fetal Monitors, Labour & Delivery, Comox Valley Hospital ($30,000)
2 Infant Incubators, Labour & Delivery, Comox Valley Hospital ($40,000)
We sincerely thank you for your continued support of our mission as we carry forward as Comox Valley Healthcare Foundation. To donate to this summer’s campaign, please click here.