People with disabilities which restrict their mobility have dramatically experienced improvements in their lives due to this innovative technology that keeps on improving day by day. The seating options of a power wheelchair are enhanced by its ability to tilt, recline and elevate the leg rests. These features have made the power wheelchair an essential part of everyday living for people who need rehabilitation such as those suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or other progressive diseases.
In this article the focus will be narrowed down to the power seating functions that come with one of these chairs.
Allows for dynamic movement
Having a power wheelchair allows the individual to shift between different postures throughout the day. The postures help a great deal in keeping the patient productive and functional at all times. The periodic movements also ease pain on the person using the chair, thereby enhancing comfort. Being able to move in a wheelchair by accessing power seating function or by not restrictive seating systems can make a huge difference in achieving more freedom in the wheelchair user’s activities of daily living.
Pain, Fatigue, and Sitting Tolerance
The ability to change one’s sitting position increases their comfort levels. Sitting for too long in one position is known to cause pain due to pressure and improperly configured wheelchairs can increase the discomfort tenfold. Functional activities and sitting stability are greatly increased by tilting the seat for 50-150 with a reclining angle of about 950-1100.
Incorporating seat functions into the daily activities of people with disabilities of different kinds helps in carrying out daily tasks and in self-management. Gravity assisted positioning is enhanced by such seats since the different terrains can be balanced with the tilt of the seat. People with muscular dystrophy and children with spinal cord injury and/or cerebral palsy find this function to be invaluably useful in carrying out daily activities.
Physiologic and orthopedic implications.
Improving postural alignment has been seen to help individuals achieve better visual orientation, speech, respiration, arousal and alertness and in carrying out bowel and bladder movements with ease. It also aids in managing orthostatic hypotension. Risk of injury to the patients’ shoulders, as well as to the care givers, is reduced by a great margin thanks to the seat functions that are available in a power wheelchair.
Elevating leg rests can be used in combination with tilt to raise the legs to about 30cm above the heart. Tilting the chair by 30 degrees while the leg rests are fully reclined improves lower limb hemodynamic states significantly. This can be one way of managing edema.
These, among many others, are the perks that come with having a high end power wheelchair with seat functions that help with the ergonomics. Many patients who have had power wheelchairs have reached their goals of handling daily tasks thanks to the multi seat functions that allows them to take different postures.
As you can see, there are many benefits of a high end power wheelchair. You must always work with your healthcare professional such as a physical therapist, occupational therapist and/or physician to determine if a high end product is the solution for you or your loved one. Part of your high end wheelchair and seating evaluation requires a supplier with a RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professional to be part of this important process. American Seating and Mobility has over 10 of these professionals on staff and has successfully worked with and provided these high end wheelchair solutions for hundreds of consumers across Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. Contact a local branch in your state today to set up an evaluation. We have extensive experience with Permobil, Sunrise Medical, Quantum Rehab and other high end wheelchair manufacturers.