Eric Rivers, 45, from Enfield north London, is terminally ill with Motor Neurone Disease but can now continue to be cared for at home thanks to a complete house make-over by BBC DIY SOS and the donation of a high quality double combination assistive bed by Theraposture of Westbury, Wiltshire.
Theraposture Ltd is a privately owned, family run business and has been the leading specialist in bespoke assistive furniture for over three decades. When approached by BBC researchers to assist with a DIY SOS ‘Big Build’ in Enfield, the Westbury team were more than delighted to oblige as Liam Braddell, Sales Director explains: “Our business is first choice for most Healthcare Professionals, charities and less able individuals looking for handcrafted, tailor-made assistive furniture which blends effortlessly into anyone’s home. The BBC were looking for a bed that combined height adjustment and profiling capabilities, which would perfectly meet the needs of Eric and his wife Davina, who were desperate to stay in their own home. They also needed many adaptations to their two-bed terraced house so that the space was practical both for everyday living and as a care environment. Without a high quality, specialist profiling bed, Eric would not be able to remain at home due to the levels of pain he was enduring at night and his wife was desperate for a good nights sleep. The Theraposture bed became the main focal point of the whole TV show.”
Liam continues: “The 5’6” wide double combination bed we donated encompasses two separate sleeping platforms with full profiling and high adjustment for Eric and a static side for Davina. This allows the couple to continue sharing a bed whilst benefitting from independent function on Eric’s side so that Davina is not disturbed during the night. The profiling allows Eric to position himself so that comfort is maximised and the height adjustment ensures getting in and out of bed is safe and controlled. As the bed consists of two separable halves locked by a latching device, it can be split and one half moved easily on smooth rolling castors so that Davina has access to both sides of Eric’s mattress. This is essential for her so that the risk of back injury is minimised whilst caring or hoisting Eric in the future. The two individual bed surrounds and wall mounted headboard were upholstered in a contemporary fabric chosen by the DIY SOS on-set designer Gabrielle Blackman to match the new bedroom colour scheme. A multi-positional grab handle was also added to Eric’s side of the bed to assist him with repositioning during the night and when standing up. Both sides were equipped with a Theraposture luxury pocket sprung mattress which delivers exceptional postural support.”
Eric was diagnosed with Motor Neurone disease 18 months ago, which is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that leads to weakness and wasting of muscles. Eric, his wife (51) and three daughters (aged 6, 11 and 13) were nominated for the TV programme by two close friends who felt they desperately needed help especially as their compact house was unsuitable for all their needs. Eric and Davina had always shared their room with their youngest daughter and access upstairs was becoming impossible hence one of their friends approached the BBC. Following an initial visit the TV researchers unfortunately concluded their house was too small for a ‘Big Build’, however their friend did not accept this and began tweeting Nick Knowles on Twitter, the DIY SOS celebrity presenter, for several months until the decision was reversed.
Following the nine-day build which involved the addition of an extra loft bedroom, a vertical mobility lift, wet room and comprehensive structural and aesthetic redesigns, Eric and his family’s new home was revealed to them by Nick and the BBC crew. This emotional unveiling also gave Eric chance to thank the large number of tradesmen and suppliers, including Theraposture, who had contributed to this life-changing gift. This project along with the provision of the specialist assistive bed from Theraposture, meant Eric could remain in the comfort of his own home, surrounded by his family and expensive care costs could be avoided.
A few weeks after the programme had been filmed, the difference the Theraposture bed had made to Eric’s life was considered to be ‘phenomenal’ by himself and his family. Eric concludes: “The improvement in my mobility since owning a Theraposture bed is absolutely astounding and I can honestly say the change has been almost instantaneous. My physiotherapist has been so impressed with the reduction in my leg spasms and the stiffness in my legs is not so pronounced. Before I slept on my new Theraposture bed, I was in constant pain during the night and regularly would have to get up which left me feeling extremely drained during the day. Now I have the capability to position myself independently and can rest at the perfect angle of elevation without disturbing Davina who is now enjoying the best nights sleep in over 12 months. We are both more active during the day and our children’s quality of life has also vastly improved. The bed relieves pressure on my muscles and breathing at night is so much easier. This bed is truly ‘magical’ and alongside the BBC and all the tradesmen who were involved with the makeover, I cannot thank Theraposture enough for this life-changing donation. I would like the Motor Neurone Disease Association to recommend Theraposture beds to all people affected by this condition.”