Wednesday 7 December 2016

Review: Ecosa memory foam mattress for someone with limited mobility

To my regular readers: this probably isn't of much interest to you.  I'm putting it up in the hope people with health issues similar to mine will find it whilst investigating if a memory foam mattress is suitable for them.

About me

I have severe CFS/ME, meaning that I am very weak.  I spend a lot of time in bed (20-21 hours per day), so a comfortable bed that minimises back pain is very important to me.  I use a bed pan (on my own) a few times a week and occasionally am too weak to roll over in bed and need my husband to help turn me.  I try to do lying-down exercises on my bed three times per week.  I'm very sensitive to stimuli of all kinds (including touch) when I'm tired.  My ability to control my temperature is compromised so I can easily get too hot or too cold.  I weigh around 110kg, my husband weighs around 85kg and we sleep in a Queen sized bed.

Deciding to try a memory foam mattress

Our existing mattress recently got too worn to be comfortable.  We decided to try replacing it with an Ecosa memory foam mattress.

It felt like a risky choice.  Previously we'd had a very firm sprung mattress then an even firmer rubberised coir mattress.  I was uncertain whether something so soft could really be comfortable, and was particularly nervous as to whether I'd be able to use my bedpan on such a surface.  It felt like a risk worth taking, though.  At $950, the Ecosa mattress was a whopping $1500 cheaper than a rubberised coir one.  Plus, Ecosa have a 100 day returns policy: if it didn't work out we could let them know and they'd pick the mattress up and return our money.

The risk of trying it out, finding it didn't work and then buying a new one was definitely worth the $1500 we'd save if it turned out it did work out :-)

How did it go?

It didn't work out.  It was moderately hard to move around in and impossible to use a bedpan on without significant spillage.  It was so comfortable, though, that I really miss it and would have loved to be able to keep it!  It would be great for someone without mobility issues.

The memory foam is comfortable precisely because you sink into it and it conforms to the shape of your body.  I found this fantastic, so long as all I wanted to do is lie there.  However, when I found I wasn't lying straight and wanted to adjust my position, that didn't work so well.  It wasn't that hard, but it did involve pushing myself out of the little well my body had formed, rather than simply moving as I've previously done on a firm mattress.  Rolling over was also considerably more difficult than on a firm mattress: hard enough that I may well have given up on the mattress even if I had had no other problems with it.  It made my exercise routine a lot harder - especially the exercise where I bring my knees up to my chest and roll from side to side!  I don't think this mattress would be ideal for anyone with even relatively mild mobility problems (e.g. someone elderly who's finding it a bit hard to move around these days).

The biggest issue for me, though, was using a bedpan on the memory foam surface.  The bedpan would sink into the bed when I lay on it, then spring up when I shifted my weight, spilling the contents

I was able to significantly reduce the spillage by positioning a small bolster pillow (that I use for lumbar support whenever I'm lying on my back) under the waterproof mat under my hips.  This kept the bedpan on a slight angle so that, when I moved my weight off it, it mostly returned to level rather than tipping downwards.  However, even with the pillow, I couldn't completely eliminate spillage and getting myself set up to use the bedpan in this way was pretty exhausting.

So we've asked them to take it back and have returned to our old latex-coir mattress until we can summon the energy to find a new one!  The Ecosa mattress should be picked up by the Salvation Army in the next 10 days or so.  It's a very comfortable mattress and I hope whoever gets it enjoys using it :-)

Using it up the 'wrong' way

When I asked to return it, they suggested I first try flipping it up the other way, so we were lying on high-density foam rather than memory foam.  As it happens, we'd already tried it that way first, by mistake :-)  I found that side significantly harder to manage than having it up the proper way.

The high-density foam side was super-supportive.  I didn't need to use any lumbar support when I was lying on it, and could even lie on my side rocked a little forward or backward without needing to prop pillows around myself to keep me stable.

However, I sank deeply into the mattress on that side.  That meant that adjusting my position in any way (let alone actually trying to move around) was very difficult: I felt like I was stuck in a well that held me in one position and was hard to climb out of.  It was hard for my husband to roll me over.  My exercise routine was extremely difficult.  On this side the mattress didn't have a firm edge, either, so tended to squish down as you neared the edge.  All this meant I often found myself lying in a little well listing towards the edge of the bed :-(

Sinking in so deeply made it impossible to use the bedpan.  The thing that came closest to working was using the technique described earlier, but with a very firm bolster around 10cm tall.  Even with this, no matter how careful I was, the bedpan tipped and spilled as soon as I moved.  You could probably use a bedpan on this surface if you put some kind of large firm board underneath you, but there's no way I could manage such a thing on my own.

It was also quite hot, probably because I sunk deeply into the mattress.  I don't think it would have been very nice in the summer, even without the other problems.

Finally, it had little raised dots all over the cover on this side.  I found them very irritating when I was doing poorly.  If there were no other problems that could have been fixed by zipping off the cover and putting it on the other way up, but that wasn't worth bothering with in our case.

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