Using a Positioning Wheelchair
A positioning wheelchair is a more versatile version of a standard manual wheelchair that allows the user to tilt, recline, and customize other features. These chairs can help reduce risk factors for poor posture, pressure sores, and pain/discomfort by distributing pressure more evenly across the seating surface.
What is the best posture for a wheelchair?
During everyday use, it is vital that the pelvis and legs are properly supported in the wheelchair seat. If a person does not have proper posture, they can struggle with pain, fatigue, reduced ability to breathe and swallow, and skin breakdown.
Poor positioning can also lead to deformities like senile kyphosis and sarcopenia (loss of muscle). Using the correct posture in the chair will help prevent these issues as well as reducing risk for bowel and bladder issues, contractures, and infections.
A few common problems people can experience with their seating include:
Sliding forward during sitting – this can be due to weakness or self-propulsion and can cause injuries. Using an anti-thrust cushion can help prevent this from occurring.
Tilting – This function can improve comfort, circulation, and breathing. It can also be used to help ease catheterization and urinary shunts.
Reclining – This position can be used to redistribute pressure off of the seat bones or to allow for weight shifts, like when using a tray. It can also be used to reduce the height of the leg rests and lower the footplate.
It is important to remember that it can be difficult to maintain these positions if the front wheels of the wheelchair are lifted while trying to go down a small step or curb. It may be helpful to loosen the leg straps on Agile, which will enable them to be hung under the seat completely for more support this way.