Feeling comfortable in a chair and having the flexibility to allow some movement is hugely important. One of our clients – an independently-minded young man with cerebral palsy – is the perfect example of how an improved chair can positively impact your daily life.
Our client’s current power chair, seat cushion and supportive backrest had become very worn after years of use and it was no longer a good fit.
When the equipment was originally issued, the client had minimal flexible scoliosis, tending towards the right side. Over the years, his scoliosis deteriorated and the current seating, which had his trunk and head positioned to the right, caused significant discomfort and skin markings. The client wanted to keep the power chair, but also improve comfort and increase movement flexibility within the chair.
As the client did not want to change the chair, all the new seating and postural support components had to fit the current mobility device. The first goal was to accommodate the pelvic obliquity and scoliosis. We did this in very cost-effective way using an Axiom cushion and an obliquity build-up. To accommodate any lateral slide to the left, we installed a Velcro-attached two point, padded, adjustable hip strap pad at an angle of 30 degrees to distribute localised pressure around the left hip. We also mounted the right footplate a little higher than the left.
To provide back support and improve comfort, we used an easily removable Comfort Company Acta-Back Deep with fixed laterals and we also created a low lumbar support in the lower back using the built-in aluminium strips. With careful positioning, we were able to provide a good level of lateral trunk support, without hindering the client’s desire to have some movement. Also, both armrests were raised to provide good upper body support.
The new and improved chair is much more comfortable for the client and he says he now has more energy during the day and doesn’t feel the need to rest in bed every afternoon. There have been no more pressure issues and he says he can now access his computer more easily as the well-fitted lateral supports free up his arms and hands to allow more productive use of the mouse and keyboard.