For various reasons, a person may spend significant periods of time in bed during the day and may need access to technology for communication, computer access or environmental control. At this point, despite first instincts to the contrary, Mounting such technologies can become somewhat challenging due to a myriad of unknown factors. Often times, simplifying the solution can be the path to best success and this can be the case with Bed Mounts.
Beds are not the easiest pieces of equipment to mount technology onto as they can all vary with many different aspects to them – side rails, materials used, shapes and sizes of frames. In addition, a person’s position in a bed can vary greatly throughout the day. Flexibility in a mounting system is often required and the ability to quickly move their technology between their wheelchair and bed.
So what do we need to consider? Let’s start by asking questions.
Questions Regarding The Technology Being Mounted
As with all Assistive Technology provisioning, we ask questions to gather as much information about the needs to hand so that a (close as possible) matching process happens. Questions like:
- What is the device, phone or other technology that needs to be mounted?
- Does a switch also need to be attached to the bed?
- What is the weight of the device?
- Does it need to be transferred between a wheelchair mount and the bed?
When Mounting to beds, these question help with the bigger picture of “when” and “how” and the technology needs to be mounted and what we need to incorporate into those needs – e.g. wheelchair mount to bed mount and back or there may be an existing mounting plate on the back of the device that needs to transfer to a compatible mount or it may need a new mounting plate to attach to a bed mount. Communicate AT can assist with working through this with you to find the best solution.
Questions About Access
Put simply, how does the person access the technology? Is it directly using their hand or eye gaze or using head tracking or some sort of mouse or are they accessing the technology with a switch?
It is quite common for someone to use a different access option in bed to what they may use in their wheelchair or a combination of access options. If accessing a device directly using a hand, eye tracking or head pointing then the device position will need to be specific and usually flexible with a person’s changing position in bed. If a person is using some sort of mouse or switch, then positioning may be less complex. This question assists with how the final positioning of the technology can be ensured for maximum access at all times, which is the goal of successful Mounting.
Questions About The Bed We’re Mounting Onto
Not all beds are created the same nor have common traits, unlike wheelchairs which (mostly) do. Questions like
- What is the bed frame like? Size, shape, material used, construction type etc – all important.
- Is there any space underneath the bed for a floor mount or overbed table?
- Are there side rails and if so, are they secure enough for a switch mount or to position a smaller device such as a phone?
What are some options for mounting technology in bed?
Direct access using hands, eye-gaze or head pointing requires quite specific positioning of the technology with respect to the person using it so often the best way to negate bed variables is to take the bed out of play as the base for attaching a mount and make the mount stand-alone.
There are many stand alone or floor standing options including the DAESSY Rolling Mounts from Daedalus Technologies, The Mini FloorStands from Mounts And More, the Mount’n Mover FloorStand or the various FloorStands from Rehadapt.
These are also handy mounts to fit around an armchair or standing frame if someone uses this equipment. Whilst sometimes bulky, these mounts provide excellent flexibility for positioning technology, particularly eye gaze and are a stable option for some of the heavier devices.
Another option to consider for positioning of technology in bed could be using a Desk Mount or Table Stand Mount on an over-bed table. This could be an option especially for people who are not directly accessing their technology, for example, if they are using a mouse option or switch.
Over-bed tables with mounts can be smaller piece of equipment to manage and a less costly option in comparison to a floor mount but provide less flexibility and stability for positioning technology.
Switch Mounting options
Mounting a switch to use in bed can be challenging at times depending on the frame of the bed. Some people are able to access a switch positioned with Velcro to a bed head or side rail but for others more flexible positioning is required.
If there is an area to clamp a switch mount to then this can be a simple option. It is also possible to add a switch mount to a floor stand or attach a switch mount to an overbed table.
Other bed mounting options
There are many other options for mounting technology to beds. This may include mounts that slide underneath the mattress or mounts that are custom made to suit the model of bed.
If you need help, please contact Communicate AT who are always able to offer advice and support, or point you in the direction of specialist service or other AT supplier who may be able to assist with finding a solution to meet your needs.