Callum is a 20 year old gentleman who enjoys spending time with his family. He has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy; communicating solely through eye movements. Callum has undergone surgery for spinal rods with pelvic fusion, which was deemed successful but he relies heavily on his wheelchair and range of specialist equipment at home.
Before being introduced to an effective tailored seating solution from Careflex, Callum used a chair provided by his local authority, which was neither comfortable nor supportive for his posture. He could only tolerate a maximum of one hour in the chair before wanting to go to bed. His family were beginning to worry about his quality of life as he was no longer the happy smiling young man they knew. They were also concerned about his poor posture affecting the success of his previous surgery and did not want to jeopardise this.
Callum’s expectations were simple – he wanted to be comfortable and to be able to spend more time with his family in the lounge. It was evident that he experienced the following postural challenges:
- Pelvic instability
- Involuntary movements, including an extensor thrust
- Asymmetrical trunk, with leaning to one side
- Leg length discrepancy
- Fatigue and discomfort
Callum was at risk of further postural deterioration, resulting in an increased risk of pressure injuries, illness, social isolation, and, above all else, poor quality of life. It was clear that Callum would benefit from a new seating system that better supported his posture while allowing him to interact with family. The chair needed to be able to finely balance correction and accommodation of his posture; appropriate support and pelvic stability would help minimise his involuntary movements, improve his alignment, and, most importantly, increase his comfort levels.
- Flexible and adjustable postural support throughout the chair ensures appropriate management of Callum’s complex postural needs
- Appropriate seat depth ensures Callum has maximum contact with the support surface, which improves his comfort levels and reduces his risk of pressure injuries.
- A contoured seat cushion and a padded pelvic strap improves Callum’s pelvic stability.
Tilt-in-space (TIS) further encourages pelvic stability while promoting energy management and a regular change of position.
- A custom-made padded channel footplate, offered the feedback Callum needs for stability, in turn improving his muscle tone and managing his involuntary movements.
- The unique multi-adjustable back and wings correct Callum’s trunk asymmetry as much as possible then accommodates his resulting spinal and pelvic posture.
- A full width leg rest with channels supports the lower limbs in as aligned position as possible.
- Overall size allows the chair to move between rooms giving Callum more freedom around the home and reduces the need for moving & handling.
A comprehensive multi-disciplinary assessment must be completed to identify the problems, then solutions need to be introduced to address these problems.
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This article has been edited and published with permission from Careflex. Original author is CareFlex Clinical Specialist, Rebecca Dunstall BSc Physiotherapy (Hons).
CareFlex has been manufacturing specialist seating since 1995. They strive to balance posture and pressure management with the individual’s own goals, whilst promoting comfort, independence and a meaningful life.