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Adjustable bed rest, England, 1720-1800

Made from plaster and wood with padded red velvet supports this bed rest could be used in a hospital or at home to support a person who had been confined to bed – perhaps for medical reasons. It has six different positions and is adjusted using a ratchet, the set of teeth on the edge of the support bars ensures the rest stays in position. The arm supports are also adjustable. Judging from the quality of the materials and design, the rest was used by a wealthy person.

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Glossary: bed rest

A support for a person in bed or confinement of a sick person to bed

Glossary: nursing

The study and practice of caring for and waiting on the sick, injured, or others unable to look after themselves or to deal with their specific medical needs.