Mattress topper

Any thoughts please? My medically non compliant 83 year old husband sleeps on a chair that extends - he was offered a hospital bed but would not comply. He is getting dreadful cramps. He has now decided he wants to buy a matress topper that he has seen advertised on TV in the night. We did phone the helpline and although it is made of memory foam, they were not sure it would work.

Thankfully it is out of stock which gives me some time to research. It is on special offer for £99. My husband says he will tie it onto the chair but tbh I have safety concerns. He has breathing issues so needs to sleep propped up - the NHS have provided him with 2 pressure cushions as he has had pressure sores. A bed is not a viable option as he wont declutter and no way can he sleep upstairs as he sleeps with the light on attached to the TV. I also could NOT let him use my Saniflow upstairs bathroom as if he dropped a pad in or used as much loo roll as he usually does, he could block it.

I would usually discuss this with the District Nurse but they discharged him in Autumn last year partially due to a heavy workload and his non compliance and in fairness, the pressure sores were nowhere near as bad, so I am left to deal with them. Thankfully Cavalon seems to be keeping the skin from breaking down completely.

I do not want to be accused of negligence if I let him go ahead with ordering this but then again, I am in no position to stop him as he can get aggressive and he apparently has ‘mental capacity’. I am not sure what is causing the cramps but we do have a face to face Surgery app on Monday at the GP Surgery so I will try to mention them to whoever we see.

A few years back I suffered a lot with night cramps. One of our members at the time (RIP Rosemary) recommended taking a magnesium supplement (just 1 tablet before bed). That did work and had the added benefit of improving my sleep pattern too.

Lot cheaper than a mattress topper, so might be worth a try first Helena ?

Thanks will mention it to husband as I agree it is a lot cheaper and probably safer than a mattress topper - just have visions of him rolling off in the night and not being able to get back up!

I think a memory foam mattress topper would be too big for his chair, make him sweat and be bad for his skin. If he is uncomfortable sleeping in his chair then he’d be best to mention it to the GP and get an OT referral (I know how awkward he can be …)

On the subject of your husband, you said on Roll Call he has a face to face appointment next week and is getting very muddled and you are going with him. Don’t jump in too soon to interpret/aid the discussion; wait until the GP gets the chance to realise how confused he is becoming.


I know Melly - I do tend to use my note book and keep it by the phone when we get phone calls which he now puts on Speaker Phone, and the last few times he has been expecting me to more or less take the call! Difficult when HE is the one with the problems and I am terrified of saying the wrong thing. So yes, when it is Face to Face, I do need to step back. It may be with a NP but at least he is getting seen! I did think of NOT going but if they change his medication, I do really need to know as I order it from the pharmacist. Your thoughts are the same as mine re the Mattress Topper but since he has his own credit card, and we found the customer service number online, he could order it easily. He is deaf though so I would end up giving the number and probably end up having the phone passed over to me!

I will try to get him to at least mention the cramps. I am not convinced they relate to sleeping issues and think it is more of a circulation issue . It also does not help that for the pressure sores he should lie flat, but for his breathing issues, he needs to sit and sleep propped up due to the fluid on his chest and throat - a lot of this is being put down to Acid Reflux. I think any OH would be suggesting a bed but he wont go for that and the Senior District Nurse did try very hard to get him to accept that hospital bed. I also DO NOT want to feel pressured to let him sleep upstairs due the Saniflow bathroom and also he would not find the stairs easy now. The idea of sleeping with the light and the TV on horrifies me but this is what suits him. He also tends to sleep in the day and stay awake at night.

Yes I will do my very best to stand back.

Memory foam relies on body heat to activate it and so it traps in the heat. Great on a cold night, but on a warm evening you sweat a lot. Although I found our old memory foam mattress very comfortable, overheating was an issue in the warmer weather, and my way of coping with it would give people nightmares, so I won’t say any more, other than to say we recently got a new mattress and it was NOT memory foam.

Sweating and overheating are major factors in developing pressure sores, as I understand it, although if you search on the internet with “memory foam and pressure sores”, you’ll find the bed/mattress industry making claims that they help, and medical sites saying they’re not a great idea. I know which I’d trust, but if your husband takes a look…he may go for “cognitive dissonance” and only pick up on those sites claiming they do help. The NHS pressure sores page does not mention memory foam as being helpful, so I’d steer him that way. The only mattresses they talk about are those providing air flow to prevent sweating, etc.

A few years ago we bought a memory foam mattress… The smell was horrible, and although it stated the odour would disappear after a few days it’s didn’t. It was left to air for a while. The company collected it and exchanged for a different type. Put me off for life. I did buy a single mattress topper max air,for me to use when my bedroom was being decorated. Was very comfortable, so much so bought a larger one for my double bed. Admittedly it’s not much more that a plump quilted duvet…
Helena Im not sure how you are going to get round this latest issue. Feel very much for you.

Thanks everyone - your thoughts echo mine!

I basically cope by constantly repeating to myself ‘GP says he has mental capacity’ and whilst I will do my best to highlight the issues raised in the post, I physically cannot stop him from ordering it and using it. My worries included the fact he might fall off in the night? No way could I help him up. He intends to use luggage straps to fix it to the chair which in fairness is a special chair which should extend flat so he can lie down. But this does not work with the acid reflux/coughing as he has been told to sleep propped up!

My neighbour used to own a Care Agency and we are seeing her on Friday for wine and cakes so if I can see her before Friday, I will mention it to her and see if she can add her comments. Thankfully single size out of stock so have a while yet but the company advertises constantly in the night, so he wont be forgetting about it.

I purchased a mattress topper for my dad to use on an air-flow mattress that he complained about in the care home. Like Pet said, it was little more than a slightly more solid quilt but apparently very comfortable. It had straps at the corners to hold it onto the bed but I wouldn’t imagine it would hold it onto a recliner chair and I wouldn’t imagine luggage straps would do a very good job or be very comfortable either. It would be a palaver each night to put it on if he uses the same chair in the day time too. To be honest, if he has breathing issues, I wouldn’t want to add to the risk of extra layers that might move etc. You can’t stop him from purchasing it but that doesn’t mean you have to help strap it on :wink:

Do you know what the issue is with the hospital bed? Is it that he sees it as a hospital bed rather than a bed that moves in different directions? I think if you put your foot down with it not going upstairs they wouldn’t make you have it up there. If he wants to be more comfortable and the bed is the best solution, you might need to declutter for him!

Hopefully you’ll be able to resolve the cramps without him needing to purchase the topper anyway.