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Specialist seating for stroke rehabilitation and why ‘comfort’ is key


e all know that a stroke can be a sudden, often catastrophic event.

The long term goal of stroke rehabilitation is to help people regain independence and attain the best possible quality of life.

Part of stroke rehabilitation often includes occupational therapy. This may involve adapting the home or using special equipment to make everyday activities easier, as well as trying to find alternative ways of carrying out problematic tasks.

A stroke will often cause weakness or paralysis in one side of the body and can result in problems with co-ordination and balance. Physiotherapy plays an important role at every stage of the stroke recovery process, helping individuals to reach their full physical potential and functional ability and get back to normal life.

Some people require a long period of rehabilitation before they can recover their former independence. Unfortunately many will never fully recover and will need support adjusting to living with the effects of their stroke and all that involves.

The correct seating, which promotes good posture, is key to help facilitate effective recovery, as stroke rehabilitation will undoubtedly mean sitting for long periods, possibly in an asymmetrical and unsupported position. This can lead to skin and soft tissue damage, often resulting in pressure ulcers, ranging from a slight discolouration of skin to a serious deep wound that may leave many tissue layers exposed. This process of skin breakdown can be made worse by other factors such as incontinence, immobility, sensory impairment and age. Pressure ulcers often develop on the buttocks, sacrum, hips, heels, spine, and around the head. The result is pain and anguish, additional to the effects of the stroke itself.

A minor stroke may require a ‘level 1’ chair, like the CareFlex HydroCare. A comfortable and supportive chair that is simple to adjust, offering durability, familiarity and stability. Integral pressure relief helps to prevent the

the chair seat and back without adjusting the user’s hip and knee angle. Seat cushions include maximum pressure relief.

A ‘level 4’ chair, like the CareFlex SmartSeatPro, is for cases where posture is likely to deteriorate significantly as a result of the stroke. This is a highly flexible and adjustable chair for complex postural and pressure management needs. The individual back-rest components can be altered in height, depth, angle, offset and rotation to offer tailored support. This level of chair includes many features: TiS, Back Angle Recline (BAR), seat adjustment in width, depth and height to name a few.

Recovering from a stroke can be challenging, and feelings of helplessness can surface. Care givers can be overwhelmed by their new roles. Around half the people who have a stroke will be dependent on some form of care for help with their daily activities. A stroke affects the entire family and the correct specialist seating can ease the pressure on carers by aiding the individual to rejoin normal daily life to the best of their abilities.

soft tissue damage mentioned above.

A CareFlex HydroTilt, ‘level 2’ chair offers all-round support for posture, pressure and comfort management in even measures for a range of seating needs in all care environments.

A ‘level 3’ chair, like the CareFlex HydroFlex or SmartSeat, is for situations where considerable support is needed for long periods. The chairs are simple and safe to operate, to encourage regular repositioning either independently or by the carer. They include a Tilt-in-Space (TiS) function which allows you to change the reclining angle of

In recent clinical trials at Salford University, the overall conclusion was that it is very important that anyone involved in assessing and prescribing seating should consider how people feel about their own comfort and posture and how they view the aesthetics of the equipment because very often these factors will affect whether the devise is used. Bearing in mind the costs involved, it is vital to help stop the high levels of equipment abandonment seen by case managers on a daily basis.

“I’d forgotten what it felt like to sit

somewhere comfortable...for the past three years I’ve literally either been in bed or in a wheelchair.”

“ I very, very rarely sit anywhere else because it’s not comfortable. I have sat in this chair...and done things that I wouldn’t normally do... for longer periods of time than I would anywhere else.”

“It’s novel being able to wear jeans with pockets on them again! On the settee I end up with pocket marks on my bum!”

“I just find the chair so relaxing. I don’t need my ‘hotty’ any more.”

“It was like my whole body had had a transformation really because the comfort is good.”

“It’s got to be down to the chair...

It’s a strange feeling ...because I’ve not experienced that in such a long time.” (8-9 years)

“I feel like I’m sitting better than I normally would which is enabling me to do things more comfortably.”

“ I’m just very comfortable and I can sit and cloud watch and I can sit for quite a while watching clouds!”

“... I didn’t expect to doze in it.... I was quite surprised when I woke up. I might have missed a goal as well!”

Participant feedback For more information about CareFlex Specialist Seating 0800 018 6440

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