Friedreich’s Ataxia


Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA) is a rare, inherited, and progressive neurological disorder that primarily affects the nervous system and muscle coordination. It is named after the German physician Nikolaus Friedreich, who first described the condition in the 19th century. FA manifests in childhood or adolescence and can significantly impact a person’s mobility, balance, and coordination.

FA is characterised by a deficiency of the protein frataxin, which leads to the degeneration of nerve tissue in the spinal cord and peripheral nerves, resulting in a range of symptoms, including muscle weakness, loss of coordination, impaired speech, and heart problems. As the condition progresses, individuals with FA may become dependent on mobility aids and may require specialised care to address their unique needs.

Optimal Bed Functions for Patients with Friedreich’s Ataxia:

Patients with Friedreich’s Ataxia will have specific healthcare needs due to their progressive neurological condition. The choice of bed functions for these patients should prioritise their comfort, safety, and ease of mobility while addressing the challenges associated with muscle weakness, balance issues, and other potential complications. Here are some of our bed functions and further considerations that may be beneficial for patients with Friedreich’s Ataxia:

  1. Low/Adjustable Bed Height: A low bed height minimises the risk of falls and makes it easier for patients to get in and out of bed independently or with minimal assistance. It enhances patient safety, especially when mobility and balance are compromised. The ability to also raise and lower the beds is possible, our Fundy Low Start Bed is a prime example of this as it can start from floor height and then be raised to waist height with ease.
  2. Full Profiling Options: Full profiling capabilities, including adjustable head and foot sections, provide flexibility for patients with Friedreich’s Ataxia to find comfortable positions for resting, reading, or engaging in activities. The prime example for our profiling options will have to be the Amazon Turning Bed due to its ability to offer a range of features which cater to each of your bodies contours.
  3. Side Rails: Retractable side rails can prevent accidental falls and provide additional support for patients with balance and coordination challenges. They enhance patient safety during sleep or while adjusting positions. We highly recommend that for any product you purchase that has side rails as an optional addition that you purchase them, especially if your patient has little mobility or small amounts of control over their movements.
  4. Soft and Comfortable Mattress: A soft and supportive mattress can help alleviate discomfort and pressure sores, which can be a concern for individuals with limited mobility due to Friedreich’s Ataxia. Please look here for our selection of mattresses and feel free to contact any of our team if you have any questions.
  5. Tilt-in-Space Functionality: Tilt-in-space features allow the entire bed frame to tilt backward or forward. This function can be beneficial for:
    • Pressure Sore Prevention: Regularly changing the patient’s position can help prevent pressure sores.
    • Muscle Relaxation: Tilted positioning may provide relief from muscle stiffness or spasticity.

Furthermore, if you were to purchase a bed which tilts both horizontally and vertically you will be able to provide constant pressure relief as well as that extra level of comfort all patients deserve. There are a few more options which are additional to all of our products, with the exclusion of the battery back up which is primarily used on our turning beds.

  1. Customisable Settings: Beds with customisable settings or memory presets make it easier for patients with Friedreich’s Ataxia to adjust the bed to their preferred positions for various activities.
  2. Battery Backup: In case of power outages, battery backup ensures that essential bed functions remain operational, maintaining patient safety and comfort.

Involving healthcare professionals, including physical therapists and occupational therapists, in selecting the appropriate bed functions for patients with Friedreich’s Ataxia is essential. Individual assessments, the specific symptoms and progression of the condition, and the patient’s unique needs and preferences should be considered to provide a supportive and comfortable environment that promotes their well-being and quality of life. Please feel free to contact us and we will be more than happy to help with any enquiries.