It was during a training course at Invacare that I became truly inspired by the possibilities of Seating and Positioning. Whilst I had naturally ensured that the people I supported when I was a Domiciliary Care-worker were as comfortable as possible, I had never looked into the area scientifically, and considered how Seating and Positioning can substantially impact aspects of muscle-strength, circulation, heart-health, breathing, pressure care, digestion―as well as comfort, confidence, cognition, and general wellbeing. When I discovered that there are ways to prevent some of the most serious posture problems developing, and so avoid many of their debilitating consequences, I was hooked!
So, I plan to share lots of seating and positioning Knacks and Tips! First up, I absolutely love this simple solution by Handicare, which I wish I had known about a few years ago for the lunchtime call of a gentleman who sometimes had difficulty getting his bottom back in his wheelchair (from an Invacare Reliant Stand Assist). On some days there was no problem, and the exercise was good for him, but on others he would struggle. The alternative would have been to hoist him into the chair which would have meant him not using and maintaining the strength he had. The SitWalk would have made a huge difference. I have tried it in a few different situations, and it works when operated by one or two carers―two is ideal.
Another option is a one-way slide/glide sheet/cushion, of which there are many makes and styles available. This is a sort of cushion/slide sheet hybrid with a one-way lock, so if you push it one way (i.e towards the back of the seat), it will help to move the sitter in the same direction, but then it will not slide back. I have seen this work well but would always be wary of specifying it in a busy care environment where there might be risk of the piece being placed the wrong way around, as this could lead the sitter to slide forward and fall. Also, the device is generally designed to be left in situ which can interfere with pressure care requirements. The following by Hospital Direct is a good solution, designed to accommodate the sitter’s specialist cushion.
Click on the following if the video is not showing… Glide and Lock – Pressure Reducing with Extension Straps – Hospital Direct Community from Hospital Direct on Vimeo.
For people with some strength to push themselves back, the Handicare FootStool can be an ingenious aid also.
I hope this information is of some use to somebody! If you have any comments following your own experiences, or know of any other knacks, tips or available solutions to share, please do not hesitate to leave a comment.
Featured Image Courtesy of Handicare