Independent Transfers And Night Routine

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Every night, Shawn, who is a C5/6 quadriplegic, completes his night routine independently. This includes transferring to bed, undressing, and settling in for the night. Prior to getting into bed, Shawn does stretches for around an hour to loosen his legs up.

His bed has a short bed bar by the corner, and on one side of the bed are two regular head pillows, a long body pillow, his blanket which is rolled like a “burrito”, and his TV remote control. Usually, the main lights will be switched off before he gets into bed. Hence, the TV will be switched on as a light source.

Independent Bed Transfer (starts at 0:09)

To transfer onto his bed, Shawn rolls his wheelchair up to the side of the bed. Then, he places his left hand on the bed and pushes his body up and onto the bed. Once he is seated on the bed, he leans back to adjust his catheter tube. “What I’m doing is moving it off to the side and giving myself a nice big loop to the side that I can actually put my arm in when I lean back to transfer,” he explains. “Because when it’s pinched between my arm and my leg, sometimes it can pull on the catheter and it’s just not really good.”

Once adjusted, Shawn leans fully back down on his back, hugs his legs to his body, “use[s] a little bit of spasm, and use[s] the weight of the legs to rock [himself] back into the bed.” After getting into a good position, Shawn brings his legs back down.

Undressing (starts at 1:40)

The next step is to get undressed, which means taking off his shorts. “I always wear Dickies shorts most of the time because it’s so easy to unbutton. You can just push the clasp together and they pop right off like that,” Shawn shares.

First, Shawn brings one leg up and then lets the leg bend down until it slightly touches the bed. Once it does so, Shawn pushes it to the side. He does the same for the other leg, and pushes that leg to the same side as well. “It takes all the pressure off the one hip so I can just pull the shorts down,” he explains. After pulling one side of his shorts down, Shawn props his legs upright to pull the other side. Then, he continues pushing his shorts towards his knees. 

On some nights, like in this video, Shawn gets a little more spasticity in his legs, but he is able to work his way around it. He pulls up the leg which is not as tight towards his body so that he can push the shorts to the ankle and over the heel. After he does so, he lifts himself up with the help of the bed bar. Moving on to the other leg, Shawn ensures that the shorts are pushed below the knee level. “I kind of need to reach behind my knee to get the bend,” he explains. Once he does so, he then pushes the shorts out in a similar fashion.

After undressing, he will do some leg stretches again if his legs are still very tight.

Depending on his morning routine, Shawn will either leave the shorts on the bed if he has to wear them again, or toss them towards the laundry pile if he is going to have help or is taking a shower the next morning.

Setting Up His Bed (starts at 4:55)

Next, Shawn hangs his catheter bag on to the bottom of the bed bar. After that, he slides towards the middle of the bed. Then, he takes the body pillow and places it to the side of the bed for two purposes: first, to block him from kicking his wheelchair if he has spasms at night; second, to use as an anchor to keep his catheter in place.

After that, he flips over his blanket so that it covers his body. If the blanket does not fully cover his legs, he will prop his body up, lean all the way forward so that he can reach the sides of the blanket to adjust.

The last thing he does is to ensure that his catheter is in place so that it does not get under his hip when he rolls around during sleep.

Share this video with your friends to show them how they can prepare for bed by themselves!

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