We know that unrelieved pressure upon weight-bearing tissues can produce lesions and the prevalence is high - up to 28% for the elderly living in care facilities and between 50% and 80% of persons with a spinal cord injury will develop a pressure injury at some point in their life. Other factors, both intrinsic and extrinsic, also predispose load-bearing tissue to mechanical damage; friction, heat, moisture, incontinence, and less than optimal nutrition can impact skin health and need to be considered. Sitting without position change is also strongly correlated to discomfort, pain, and postural asymmetries. The body just doesn't cope well with sitting for long stretches of time.
Typically, for full-time power wheelchair users, we look to power seat functions to reduce skin risk, create rest, provide relief, and increase comfort. But how do we know what to recommend to our clients? The research tells us a few key facts:
However, we also know that many clients do not use their power seat functions as we prescribe - in either frequency or amount of position change. Studies find that typical use is somewhat less than desirable:
I'm a firm believer that to create a behavior change three elements are involved:
Research has also told us that information alone isn't enough; we need reminders and motivators in order to substantially change a behavior.
Providing timely cues, accessible instructions, and feedback were critical to facilitating desired health behavior.
Power wheelchair electronics now allow us to program either visual or auditory reminders for position change. Program the position, frequency, and duration of the position change - a nice "reminder" that they've been in one position for too long! Link this to one of the programmed Memory Positions and latch it! Now that's action!
We can also use the electronics as a "FitBit®" of sorts - an app has been developed to connect the wheelchair electronics and a client's smartphone. This app can be used by the client to analyze and track their seat function use, so they can independently manage and improve their comfort, skin health, and well-being. This app, "Remote Seating" uses Bluetooth® connectivity and can be linked to other heath care management plans - sent to the therapy team and used with other outcome measuring tools. Usage data, compliance, and thresholds can all be analyzed. This data can then be correlated with other health indicators.
If you would like more information regarding Memory Positions or Remote Seating Technology, please visit our website or speak with your local rehab technology provider.
Amy Bjornson, PT, Physio, ATP, SMS
Clinical Education Manager
Sunrise Medical Australia
DISCLAIMER: FOR PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY. THIS WEBSITE (AND THE DOCUMENTS REFERENCED HEREIN) DO NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Sunrise Medical (CA) LLC ("Sunrise") does not provide clinician services. The information contained on this website (and the documents referenced herein), including, but not limited to, the text, graphics, images, and descriptions, are for informational purposes only and should be utilized as a general resource for clinicians and suppliers to then use clinical reasoning skills to determine optimal seating and mobility solutions for individual patients. No material on this website (or any document referenced herein) is intended to be used as (or a substitute for) professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never disregard your professional medical training when providing medical advice or treatment because of something you have read on this website (or any document referenced herein). Clinicians should review this (and any other materials) carefully and confirm information contained herein with other sources. Reliance on this website (and the information contained herein) is solely at your own risk.
These cookies are enabled by default and are required for basic site functionality. These include cookies that keep track of your session ID when exploring our site and also assist in security and login authentication. See list of cookies
Sunrise Medical asks you to accept cookies to personalize website content and analyze traffic. We also use third-party social media and advertising cookies to offer you social media functionalities and personalized ads on other sites. Do you accept these cookies and any processing of personal data involved?