body structure; the muscles tire more quickly because they have to work harder, which results in greater energy consumption. Gravitational forces can also make

sitting effortful for individuals who present with muscle weakness and abnormal muscle tone. Fatigue will certainly impact on social interaction and engagement. Early implementation of fatigue management strategies into daily life is critical, and could reduce the impact and the probability of fatigue becoming chronic.6

Pressure care Posture and pressure are inextricably linked; body positioning has a direct influence on the pressure going through specific body sites.7

High interface

pressures cause the skin and underlying tissues to become compressed; blood cannot circulate so the cells do not get vital oxygen and nutrients. The body can only withstand these high

interface pressures for a short period of time and when the loading of tissues is unequal, and/or the pressure is not regularly relieved, pressure ulcers can occur.8 Pressure ulcers can have a profound

impact on the overall wellbeing of individuals, and can be both painful and debilitating.9

Older persons can be at

risk of developing pressure ulcers due to prolonged rest and immobility; gravity can trap individuals in destructive postures. The opportunity to sit out can offer a much-needed regular change of position to encourage blood flow and redistribute pressure. Equal weight distribution over the maximum surface area possible is crucial for reducing the risk of pressure injuries.

Safety and independence With age comes an increased risk of illness and disability, which can translate to dependency. Care home residents may have an increased risk of falls due to general weakness from immobility and deconditioning; reduced postural control can result in individuals sliding out of their chair or falling during transfers.

In sitting, an individual’s pelvis must

be stable and their feet adequately supported to promote postural stability and help keep the user in the chair. Postural management must also consider the individual’s mode of transferring, and specialist equipment should encourage independence.

How specialist seating can help Specialist seating aims to promote comfort and independence through good postural management and pressure care. Postural support is offered through a range of functions and accessories to encourage pelvic stability, trunk alignment, foot support, and head control. To reiterate, this optimum upright symmetrical position is essential for purposeful movement and physiological function. Back angle recline may be indicated, only when safe and appropriate, to accommodate reduced range of movements at the hips, or a negative angle leg rest may be required to accommodate reduced range of movement at the knees, with the aim of increasing comfort levels. Appropriate use of specialist seating

can encourage energy conservation, making it easier for individuals to live a meaningful life. Tilt-in-space, if safe and appropriate, can manage fatigue and promote rest by reducing the effects of gravity for a period of time, allowing individuals to then direct it into activities of daily living important to them. Specialist seating systems aim to reduce the risk of pressure ulcers by

Specialist seating aims to promote comfort and independence through good postural management and pressure care


distributing the user’s body weight evenly throughout the chair over the maximum surface area. Integrated pressure redistribution, such as CareFlex’s WaterCell Technology, can provide a reliable and dynamic solution for individuals at risk; it enables the user to achieve a stable and functional posture without compromising on pressure management and comfort. Tilt-in-space can further encourage

pressure redistribution by supporting the body in varying degrees of tilt. AutoTilt actuation can enhance the standard pressure management functions already built into CareFlex chairs by automatically moving the user through small degrees of tilt at short intervals to redistribute pressure. Specialist seating is highly adjustable,

with seat dimension flexibility to suit multi-user environments such as care homes. Correct seat width and seat depth are vital for comfort, pelvic stability and reducing the risk of pressure ulcers. The ability to achieve the correct seat

height for the mobile user is also critical to encourage mobility and independence, and a flip-up footplate or a negative angle leg rest can help achieve a good foot placement to enable safe transfers. Tilt-in-space can also promote feelings of safety and security by reducing the risk of individuals falling out of the chair. If something more bespoke is identified

at assessment due to complex postural needs, a tailored seating solutions service can enable the provision of a unique seating system.

Rise & recline chairs Rise & recline chairs are designed with an individual’s wellbeing and independence in mind, aiding daily living while ensuring optimum comfort. The simple push of a button will raise the user forward and upward to a safe standing position or • June 2021

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