In August 2020 Niall’s life changed forever.
What was supposed to be a fun day at the Caddon Bank Mountain Bike Trail in Innerleithen took a turn for the worse when Niall went over the handlebars on his mountain bike.
He says immediately, he knew things were bad when his feet flipped up into the air and he felt a strange sense of ‘disconnection’ in his body as he lay on the ground, surrounded by his friends.
Niall says: “At the time of the accident, specialists told me I was almost fully paralysed from the shoulders down and that it was likely I would be for life, but the goal posts have totally shifted over time, which is really positive.
“It’s not permanent at the moment but I've since returned to work, working with children who need additional learning support. We’re still working through getting the adaptations put in place so I can work more, but it’s a positive thing which has brought some normality back into my life.”
Adapting to his new life
After spending over 9 months in hospital Niall continues his specialist rehabilitation treatment and has recently moved into his own adapted flat.
Upon moving into his new home, Niall got in touch with Opera after one of his visits to the Matt Hampson Foundation.
Named after founder and ex-Rugby player Matt Hampson OBE, the foundation supports individuals who are living with life-changing circumstances following an accident or injury.
Niall says: “I’d been having rehab down at the centre and I was like wow I can sleep in what is essentially a normal bed again and it was just it was just a game changer.
“I tried them twice and then I spoke to Matt about where he got his bed from, and I'd already seen Opera and then once I spoke to Matt I was just like yeah let's go for it.”
“My old bed was a reminder of being in hospital.”
After leaving hospital, Niall was given a profiling bed to continue his care plans at home. However, Niall described it as ‘a giant cot that was small and ugly, and a constant reminder of being in hospital’.
Niall adds “I wanted a new bed that was practical for care and something that looked good you know going back to that feeling of normality. I felt like my house was nice, but it was incomplete because it had this tiny little cot bed with these massive wooden sides, and it felt like I was trapped in a cage.”
Niall’s previous profiling care bed was also limited his recovery progress, whilst the narrow size of the bed increased his risk of falling out.
How Niall’s Opera bed has made a difference
As well as having the functionality required for Niall’s care, the appearance of the care bed was just as important for him by saying “How it looks was a big thing for me, you look in my room and see the bed and think wow there’s a double bed – I’ve never had a bed that nice.
“It brings me normality and I just go in there and smile and go that’s a nice bed. Having a big bed that is a full care bed does all the same things as my other bed but looks like a plush five-star hotel bed was just magic.”
Meanwhile, Niall’s new Opera bed has had a positive impact on his physiotherapy and progress.
“The beds really helped with my daily routine which includes showering and using a sling which requires a lot of rolling, once I’m back in bed I do a lot of physio in bed so one thing like the size is fantastic because I can fully engage with rolling side to side with assistance from my carers which is one of my goals I'm working on.” Niall also purchased our Impulse Hybrid Pressure Care Mattress which has also helped with his routine.
Niall added “because I've got the hybrid mattress, I can crank up the firmness what I couldn’t do with my old bed and that just gives you a firmer base to stretch on. I do lots of exercises so it doubles up as a space for lots of physiotherapy exercises and I'm also working on stand transfers using stand aid so I can roll over the side of the bed and get my feet on the ground. I can practice my balance because it's quite firm and move into my stand transfer aid and then transfer to my wheelchair so it's fantastic.”
Positive impact for caregivers
Niall has around the clock care to assist him and shares how his Opera bed can given his carers peace of mind.
“One thing my carers like is that they’re no longer scared of my falling off the edge of the bed, they’re more confident because of more space to do things. My carers are fantastic they engage with they engage with the physical exercises they are like physiotherapist assistants so they get on the bed, and they've got lots of space to do things there's no massive footboard at the bottom which means I can stretch lots and lots more and it's just easier for them.”
A seamless experience
At Opera, we pride ourselves on finding the best solution through a personal consultation with a dedicated advisor.
Niall expressed his experience with Opera was fast, seamless, and pleasant saying “I would recommend Opera to people who are looking for a new care bed, their customer service was great and really helped me choose the right bed give me the conference that I was spending you know a significant investment on the right thing.”
Niall also chose our home installation service saying “the bed came really quickly, much less time than you’d expect from adaptive equipment providers in my expereince. The delivery was seamless, and they fitted it within an hour, they had the bed up and running and even dismantled by old one ready for collection from the local occupational therapy services.”