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Bed pad helps solve care problem

Caregiver finds soft, waterproof fabric that doesn't tangle up under patients and helps in turning them

Mail Tribune

It's problematic for both the bedridden and the caregiver when bedding balls up beneath a patient.

Wrinkled material is not only an irritant that leads to bedsores but a source of irritation to those trying to move incontinent patients.

Caregiver Bobbi Harangozo has developed a bed pad that appears to be both a boon to the clients at KC's Adult Foster Care in Medford and to caregivers, who long have battled bedding while turning residents.

Harangozo's inspiration wasn't a bolt out of the blue but rather a bolt of material from a local fabric store that Harangozo made into a bib.

KC's owner Charli Myres had recognized that her patients desired the independent feeling of feeding themselves. But the frequent messes got her to thinking there might be something better. She put Harangozo on the task.

"I told her I wanted something thin and waterproof that doesn't wrinkle," Myres says.

Central Point resident Harangozo wasn't sure what she was looking for, but when she stumbled on to a white fabric that sandwiches rubber between cotton, she had what she wanted.

"The fabric is real thin and sturdy," Harangozo says. "It's reversible, nonflammable and washes up real well."

She's made eight bibs since the middle of last year and the first one, made last June, looks new even though it's washed virtually every day.

The durability persuaded her that the material might have another application - bed pads.

Harangozo cut out a 33-inch-by-33-inch piece, designed for incontinent patients, hoping it would prevent leakage onto surrounding linens. She has made 11 bed pads for KC's six residents.

"So far not one drop has gone through the bed pad," she says. "One of the hospice nurses came over after we had put the pad on and she raved about it."

The fabric doesn't unravel, so all Harangozo has to do is cut it out. She calls the pad Body Essence and sells it for $16.98.

Harangozo, 51, worked as a bookkeeper, physical therapist and salesperson before joining KC's in 2000.

The previous pads had a rubber-like backing with cotton on top and were sewn around edges.

"They would bulk up underneath sides and start curling up," Harangozo says. "After quite a few washes, it starts getting holes. Mine seem to be holding up really well after several months."

She claims the pads were instrumental in helping rid a pair of former nursing home patients of bedsores after they arrived at KC's.

Myres, who has operated the foster care home for six years, quickly became a believer in the bed pads.

"It's much easier," she says. "We're not turning clients, then lifting their hips, getting out wrinkles and turning again. We can pull across the pad without the friction which causes bedsores. If there is a urine accident, you don't have to change the bed and mattress pad, because it's self-contained."

A job that frequently required two people - one to hold the pad down and one to turn the client - can often be done by one caregiver.

Myres thought so much of Harangozo's creation that she made a pitch for it at a regional foster care convention last fall.

Harangozo admits some of her marketing dreams are on hold, primarily because she hasn't been able to find out where the fabric is produced. Her supplier will tell her only that it's made in California, and Web searches haven't turned up many answers.

"When I enter a 'soft rubber material' it comes back as gaskets and such," Harangozo says "Things more on the line of rubber, and that isn't what I want."

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Bobbi Harangozo, a caregiver at KC's Adult Foster Care home in Medford, has developed a bed pad that allows easier turning of patients such as Eleanor McGraw. - Mail Tribune / Roy Musitelli