Part 2 in our series where we take a deeper look at the Permobil Connect. See part 1 here.
How can a power wheelchair promote health? Well, if we think of existing apps and technologies out today, we have ways to track our steps, count our calories, set sleeping goals, and monitor our diabetes. In the same way, your connected wheelchair can help you with your positioning goals to maximize your health! One of the greatest health concerns for a power wheelchair user who has power seat functions is immobility.
The Risks of Immobility
If you are a power wheelchair user with power seat functions, you probably have a medical condition that inhibits your independent mobility. We know there are significant health risks to immobility such as:
- Edema: The lymphatic system depends on movement of your muscles to pump lymphatic fluid throughout your system. If there is no movement, then fluids can pool and result in edema.
- Digestive Issues: When we are seated all day and we couple that with muscle weakness in the upper body, our resulting posture can compress our digestive system. This can impact the effectiveness of our intestines to move matter through our system and result in digestive and bowel issues
- Respiration: When we are seated all day and we couple that with muscle weakness in the upper body, it can result in compression of the diaphragm, which will decrease our ability to take deep breaths. With our inability to take deep breaths or fully exhale, we are decreasing our oxygenation to the body and increasing the risk of pneumonia.
- Pressure Injury: Those who are unable to frequently redistribute their weight when seated all day are at a high risk of pressure injury. If you couple immobility with lack of sensation, then this risk increases exponentially since the person is not getting the alarm bell of pain!
How can I decrease these risks?
The solution to immobility is, simply, mobility! For those of you in power wheelchairs with power seat functions, these functions have been provided to allow for daily mobility. Not only that, but research shows that specific positions and angles can help minimize your risks of immobility listed above. The great news is that Permobil Connect has an app designed to help you not only increase your daily mobility, but know which angles are best to achieve your optimal pressure redistribution and movement goals. This app is called Virtual Seating Coach, and it allows you and your seating clinic therapist to design an individualized plan for your specific clinical needs and lifestyle. Check us out next week to see how it works!
Stacey Mullis, OTR/ATP
Director of Clinical Marketing
Stacey is Director of Clinical Marketing. She graduated from Western University in London, Ontario, Canada with a BA Linguistics and BSc Occupational Therapy and has practiced as an OTR for over 20 years. With experience in pediatrics, inpatient/outpatient rehabilitation, long term care, and home health, Stacey has faced the challenges first hand of providing appropriate seating in various clinical settings. This led her to pursue an apprenticeship at Care Partners Seating Clinic in Asheville, NC to advance her skills, and she obtained her ATP certification in 2012. Mullis is a member of the NCOTA, CTF, NRRTs, RESNA, and AOTA.