A good night’s sleep can make all the difference when coping with life’s challenges – and Ross Stonham has had more than his fair share to cope with.
An accident at a hotel swimming pool over 30 years ago left Ross a tetraplegic when he dove into the water and hit the bottom. That was followed by a syrinx (fluid-filled cyst) developing in his spinal cord some years later which robbed him of further mobility.
Ross lives in Lynfield, Auckland, with his wife, Sandy. He uses an overhead hoist to get out of bed and into a wheelchair each morning. “She does everything with regard to care. We just take our days from one day to the next and live as normally as we possibly can.”
The former insurance agent has always made the most of life, participating in wheelchair rugby for over a decade and developing his mouth-painting skills. Several of his artworks have been turned into greeting cards and sold around the world.
The 64-year-old recently began using the Toto lateral turning system supplied by Cubro to help automatically shift his position while lying in bed at night to avoid pressure injuries and discomfort. It rolls him from his side, onto his back, and then over to his other side, at pre-programmed intervals so that Sandy no longer has to wake up in the night and manually turn Ross over.
"It's never good for anybody having to wake regularly in the night. So it has made a heck of a difference for both of us since we’ve had it, and we’re very happy with it."
It's never good for anybody having to wake regularly in the night. So it has made a heck of a difference for both of us since we’ve had it, and we’re very happy with it.
Ross has previously tried various alternating air mattresses which are designed to give pressure relief to immobile Kiwis. “I found them noisy, and you still actually need help to turn a bit because you get sick of just being on your back,” he says.
“I used to dig Sandy in the ribs when I needed her to help me! Now she can sleep in peace. Sometimes I wake up with this new turning system, other times I sleep right through. It’s very quiet.”
Ross says the pre-set intervals were “simple” to programme and he’s set the product up to turn him over approximately three times during the night. “It goes underneath our mattress and it lifts on a 30-degree angle which is enough for pressure relief.
“I have had one pressure injury before that was caused in hospital, unfortunately. That was a number of years ago and I was in bed for three months which was no fun or joke. I know how disruptive pressure injuries are.”
Keeping individuals moving is an important part of good pressure care management. Frequent repositioning redistributes pressure and helps prevent pressure damage to the skin. The unique Toto lateral turning system is designed to inflate evenly and smoothly, and provides gentle controlled turning from head to toe, so no part of the body is left twisted in an awkward position. It can handle up to 250kg of weight and reduces the risk of injuries to caregivers and users who are being turned.
Ross says knowing his skin integrity is now protected by the Toto lateral turning system provides good peace of mind and improved sleep and comfort.
“I’ve found it very good. I didn’t enjoy the alternating air mattress. It was just a bit noisy and disruptive but others swear by it. So different things work for different people. You just have to give things a go and find what’s right for you.”