This is part of our series highlighting a consumer's guide to seating and mobility equipment. Check out The Wheelchair Handbook for more information about the wheelchair service provision process.
It’s time for you, the consumer, to get a new wheelchair and seating system. What do you need to prepare in order to make sure you get what you need and want?
This series of blogs will highlight things to think about before you meet with your Team. Each blog will provide you with questions to help you evaluate your own needs and goals, so that you can share this information with your Team.
This blog will highlight the seating system. The next blogs in this series will highlight power assist devices, manual wheelchairs, and power wheelchairs.
You will know that you require a cushion or back support, or other seating component when your body is doing something it shouldn’t be doing. With prolonged sitting, your body can shift into what is known as abnormal postures, in order to seek stability and/or alleviate pain and pressure. Often your condition itself causes your body to shift into these altered postures and positions.
Seating and positioning products include wheelchair cushions, back supports, and accessories. Your seating system should provide you with skin protection, stability, and comfort, while promoting function. These components are made from different materials and come in many shapes and sizes to meet your individual needs. If an off-the-shelf option does not work for you, there are also custom options to explore.
Here are some questions to ask yourself and be prepared to share about your current seating system:
- How long do I want and need to sit up in my chair throughout the day?
- Am I comfortable all day? If not, how long can I sit before I’m uncomfortable?
- Do I feel supported and do I have good balance to do daily tasks?
- Have I noticed any postural changes? Do I sit upright and ‘straight’ or am I falling over?
- Do I have any skin problems? Discoloration, pain, sensation changes?
- Are my seating components ripped, torn or worn out?
- Have I been able to maintain my seating components effectively since I’ve been using them?
- Did my current seating system meet my needs since I’ve been using it
Here are some questions to ask yourself about what you need and want from your new seating system:
- What are my functional and medical needs- has anything changed about my condition or functional status?
- Where do I plan to use my equipment?
- What activities do I complete throughout the day?
- Do I have anyone to help me with maintenance of my seating system?
- Are there specific features that I think I need or would benefit from?
“As a quad, reaching outside my chair area always poses some instability. This cushion gives me the security and confidence to reach beyond my normal comfort zone.”
Barry, ROHO Hybrid Select and TiLite user
So now, what do you do with all of this information? Take this information and share it with your team to make sure that your needs and goals are addressed while you select your new seating system. Click here to learn more about Permobil's seating and positioning portfolio. Check out the digital version of The Wheelchair Handbook or if you prefer to download a pdf click here.
Permobil Clinical Education Team
This information comes from the Permobil Clinical Education team which consists of a group of Occupational and Physical Therapists. Click here to learn more about Permobil clinical education team.