Alex and mum2

A 5-year-old boy, who is profoundly disabled and has complex needs, has been given his first full night’s sleep after using a pioneering new sleep system.

Alex Ray from Huddersfield was born three months prematurely. His condition means he is unable to walk or talk and is severely vision impaired. He also has severe epilepsy, scoliosis, both hips are dislocated and cannot sit up unaided and is tube-fed.

His mum, Sarah frantically tried to find a mattress or sleep system that would allow Alex to sleep more than just a few hours.

The family failed to find an effective solution and Alex, along with his exhausted mum, had only ever managed to sleep 3 or 4 hours uninterrupted at a time.

It wasn’t until they used a new UK manufactured sleep system, originally designed for people with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS), that the family’s life was completely transformed.

“The results have been amazing,” said Sarah. “Alex will settle almost straight away and he sleeps straight through the night uninterrupted, which was unheard of before.”

“He is also having fewer seizures, as a result of having more sleep and his physio has noticed he is a lot more relaxed in sessions, especially around his shoulders.”

Designed by Mobility with Dignity, a unique feature of the Comfier is a set of 10 large inflatable tubes, manufactured by Chesterfield-based Speed Plastics, that fit on top of Alex’s existing mattress.

These large tubes can be individually inflated or deflated by the user or their carer until they are in a comfortable position. Unlike most static sleep systems, this means the user can decide exactly how soft or hard the support under any part of their body is at any time.

Sarah is able to easily inflate and deflate the tubes to suit Alex’s comfort and clinical preferences. Additionally, there is a tube under either side of the Comfier which keep Alex straight and protected in the same position throughout the night.

The system can be controlled in a number of ways, including a handheld remote control, a variety of buttons and switches and even using retinal scanning (eye gaze) devices.

Sarah added: “At last I have peace of mind because I know Alex is comfortable and won’t slide down the bed, which was the main problem with other sleep systems in the past. It has totally transformed our lives and I don’t know how we coped without it.”

Engineer, Dane McGee, who designed the system, explains the concept for the Comfier came from his desire to give people with limited or no mobility the chance to sleep comfortably.

He attended local support groups across Yorkshire to work with clinicians, physio’s and families to see how his designs could help people, who for medical reasons couldn’t get comfortable.

“The Comfier was originally designed for people with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS) but after hearing Sarah and Alex’s story we just wanted to help,” said Dane.

“I’m delighted that it has helped them and has given both Alex and Sarah the sleep they so desperately needed. Our aim was always to enable people with limited mobility and complex care needs to regain independence and control, so it’s heart-warming to hear just how much it has improved their lives.”

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