How Leeds engineer is transforming lives with sleep system

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A breakthrough sleep system designed and made in Leeds is transforming the lives of adults and children with disabilities.

The Comfier is a set of large inflatable tubes which can be inflated and deflated in sections to relieve pressure on a person’s body, helping to improve sleep and reduce the risk of pressure sores.

Fitted to a bed just like a mattress, it can be operated by a handset or simply by a person using their eyes, so people with limited mobility can also gain more independence.

The system is the brainchild of engineer Dane McGee, who owns city centre-based Mobility with Dignity.

“The Comfier is the first sleep system developed to enable someone with limited mobility to control their own comfort and pressure relief using only their eyes,” he said.

“Our aim was always to enable people with limited mobility and complex care needs to regain independence and control. It’s so heart-warming to hear just how much it has improved their lives.”

Among those now using the system is Alan Livett, a 61-year-old from Baildon who has Motor Neurone Disease.

He said: “I don’t like to disturb my family at night time. The mattress has given me back my independence and I’m sleeping much better.

“It has taken away a huge anxiety from me as this horrible disease progresses.”

Alan was one of the first people to trial the mattress through support from the NHS in Bradford and the city’s Adult Social Services department.

Previously, he had to wait for a nurse to visit if he wanted to change his position in bed.

“With the Comfier system, I have the independence to control my comfort in bed using my eyes,” he said. “I can’t put a value on that.”

Another West Yorkshire family is raising funds to buy a Comfier system for the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice after seeing the benefits it can bring for themselves.

Born three months premature, Alex Ray is profoundly disabled and has complex needs. But the five-year-old, who lives in Huddersfield and has respite care at the hospice, had his first ever night of uninterrupted sleep thanks to the system.

His mum, Sarah Milner, said: “It has completely changed both our lives. He now regularly sleeps through the night, is having less seizures and his tone in physiotherapy sessions is improving all the time.

“Given the impact the Comfier has had on our lives, I want to raise the money to buy Forget Me Not a Comfier of their own, so other children who visit the hospice can benefit in the same way.”

Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sarah-milner7 to sponsor Sarah as she takes on a Three Peaks Challenge on September 2.

PIC: James Hardisty

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