STEPtember for The Cerebral Palsy Association of BC

Hello Everyone,

It’s September already! This post is a bit different than my other posts. You see, Access Community Therapists is participating in “STEPtember” this month, which is a fundraising campaign for The Cerebral Palsy Association of BC. My colleagues and I will be attempting to take 10,000 steps per day this month in support of this amazing cause. Today was the first day and I only managed to take 4100 steps so I am already behind. This is a cause that is so important to us at Access as we work with so many people with CP and other developmental disabilities. If you could spare a few moments and a few dollars towards this cause, I would be forever grateful. Here is the link to the Steptember website. Feel free to search my name “Cheryl Hon” and donate!

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Thanks everyone for checking in. Seating is Super!

Cheryl

 

New products from Invacare, Power Wheelchair Programming Language and Nylatron Front Rigging

Happy Wednesday Everyone,

I hope you are all enjoying the beautiful weather this week. On May 6th and June 23rd, Invacare provided some super valuable inservices to the Access Team and local sales reps. Not only did we get an in depth overview of their new products, but also had a chance to learn more about programming. Power wheelchair programming jargon can be a bit confusing, to me anyways, so it was great having the opportunity to clarify what some of the language really means. A huge thank you to Jason Hrynyk for the inservice at Access and the invitation to the education day. Also, thank you to Cher Smith, OT who gave a great review of wheelchair and seating principles and programming tips at education day.

Jason brought us the Libra cushion and PSVF (posture seat visco foam) cushion for us to pressure map at the office. We used the X sensor pressure mapping system at this inservice to assess the cushions. The PSVF cushion is a really nice comfort cushion is mapped quite well as it provided good pressure redistribution as the foam allows you to submerge into it to achieve full contact with the buttocks and proximal femurs.

The Libra cushion is Invacare’s new cushion that has been designed to address skin breakdown. This is a nice stable cushion and is also quite light weight even with the gel pack at the back. From a pressure mapping perspective, when leaning side to side, peak pressures did appear, however, we do know that skin breakdown does not just occur from pressure alone. Invacare reports that this cushion has helped some clients heal their wounds. My guess is that this cushion provides a stable sitting surface and the gel at the back may be most suitable for clients who are at risk for developing wounds from either friction or shear. Just as a reminder:

Friction: Is repeating rubbing on a surface. This causes damage to the surface of the skin only

Shear: when unaligned forces push the body in one direction while another force pushes the body tissues in an opposing direction. This results in damage below the skin first.

Here is a video by KCI that describes these two concepts very well! Click here. These concepts are described in the first 2 minutes of this video.

If you get a chance to trial either of these cushions, we would love to hear your experiences!

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Jason also brought us the e-motion wheels to trial. These are nice power assist wheels that are activated through the push rim. See this brochure for more information.

At the education day, Cher Smith and representatives from Invacare and ASL reviewed some very useful terms. Here are some programming definitions that will hopefully help when you need to adjust power wheelchair driving programming for your clients:

Joystick Programming Language:

Movement of the joystick:

  • Deadband=The space in which the joystick can move before actually moving the wheelchair. (If the deadband is large then the client will need to move the joystick further away from centre to activate the driving of the wheelchair. If the deadband is short, then less movement away fron centre is required to start moving the wheelchair)
  • Throw= How much the joystick movement is required to move the wheelchair to full speed. This can be adjusted to allow clients to reach full speed without pushing the joystick to the end of its range. Similarly, it can be adjusted so that a client needs to push the joystick to the end to reach full speed.

Force of Movement:

  • Deflection= the amount of force required to move the joystick

Power Wheelchair Programming Language:

  • Power: The amount of power a wheelchair has. This cannot be changed with programming.
  • Torque: Can be better described as “acceleration”. Torque is essentially the amount of power required to accelerate. Acceleration can be adjusted with changes to the electronics to the maximum amount of power the wheelchair has.

One last thing that was shared at this education day was the Tecla Shield . This product is so cool. It’s a device that links tablets, other touch screen devices and computers to alternate access buttons, switches, or even wheelchair driving controls. So cool! Check it out!20160623_154304.jpg

Finally, here is a new and exciting innovation created by Nathan Buskell at Motion Specialties. It’s a Nylatron foot rigging post!!!! This doesn’t look that exciting from the photo, but this post is flexible. Yes, flexible! Nathan created this product using nylon plastic material called Nylatron. He designed it for clients who often break their front rigging from heavy use. This could be from constant stomping, high tone or even from hitting the front rigging and footplates on obstacles in the environment. What an amazing innovation! And to top it off, it looks nice! Not bulky at all! I was so excited! 20160726_120320

That’s all for now folks. Thanks again for checking in. Seating is Super!

Cheryl

 

The 32nd International Seating Symposium

Happy Wednesday Everyone,

Lindsay Alford and I presented for the first time at the conference. We were definitely a bit nervous at the beginning! Hopefully we didn’t scare anyone away at the beginning! To everyone who was able to make it, thanks so much for coming. Hopefully you found our presentation on Balancing Function and Posture in Wheelchair Seating helpful in your practice. My appologies for this very late post. I’ve been meaning to share all of these new innovations from the ISS for a while now. But my oh my is working with a baby, or should I say toddler, a whole other ball game. And to think, I only have 1 so far! In any case, here are some updates from the ISS back in March.

Ride designs debuted their new Soft Fit cover for their custom ride cushions. As you can see in the images, the regular spacer cover is one layer of spacer fabric, whereas the Soft Fit has 3 layers of the famous material. The image of the under side of the cover shows how they cut out a diamond shape section for the well of the cushion. That’s to ensure that the consumer still gets the off loading properties of the cushion under such a thick cover. This is a really nice option for those who find the cushion a bit hard but don’t want to lose the unique off loading qualities of the Ride.

Ride Designs also had their tall Ride Java backrest as well as their new Ride Java cushion on display. As you can see there are pronounced scapular cut outs on the backrest,which is definitely a nice feature. As for the cushion, this is a nice commercial option for clients who would benefit from off loading their boney prominences but don’t quite need the full custom option. I’ve already trialed this one with a few of my clients!

Now here is a really cool product made by Joerns Healthcare. At the exhibits, they had their Dolfin Fluid Immersion Simulator mattress and cushion available to see and trial. This system is based off of a system that was used to transport military dolfins. Yes, that’s right, Military dolfins! Apparently, in order to transport dolfins, they need a system that will support their bodies so that they won’t collapse when they aren’t submerged under water. They used this technology in this mattress and cushion as it therefore helps to prevent collapse of the tissues in order to prevent and heal wounds and pressure ulcers. These products are available for rent as well so feel free to contact Joerns for more information.

Seating Dynamics had quite a few neat products this year. Here are some images of their dynamic footrest, backrest and head rest. The headrest was quite interesting as it has the option of being set up with a single-axis or multi-axis movements. The mounting hardware also seemed quite strong. Head positioning and tone are so complex when it comes to positioning. I am very interested in trying this item when the right client comes around.

Here is another innovative product at the ISS. Stealth Products had the Tarta Ergonomic backrest available to trial. Although this product is not yet available in Canada, it is an interesting design that provides the user with midline guidance and support, but is flexible. The modular design allows this backrest to flex backwards and side to side with the user. It is super comfortable and you can definitely see the utility of this product. Definitely worth a try for the right client!

Here are the B-Braver handrims. These handrims have a Polyisoprene non slip grip at the top. But what is truly unique about these handrims is the shape. They are rounded at the top and flat at the bottom. When holding on to them , they fit very nicely in your hand. These handrims were created by Marco Pilotto, a gentleman with C6 Quadriplegia. I always find products created by consumers to be so special. Marco was such a pleasure to meet as well. Passionate about his product that has worked so well for him as well as for many others. Marco, it was so lovely to have met you! Good luck with this product, it’s definitely a good one!

Invacare debuted their TDX SP 2 power base at the ISS. Unfortunately, this power base is not yet available in Canada. But some exciting features about this base include the new joystick with switch box for access to all the power seating functions, the improved power recline with shear and the streamlined power elevating legrests. The power recline with shear is super nice in that the backrest essentially stays in place when the system goes into recline. This may seem simple, but it’s definitely not common in many other power bases. The reason why this is useful is that if you have trunk laterals or a custom backrest for example, if there is not enough shear, the backrest will move up out of place when the system moves into recline. Then the client looses contact with their back contours or their laterals get pushed into the axillas or even past their axillas. The legrests are also unique as many manufacturers are moving away from swing away elevating legrests. This can be an issue for clients who need the swing away for specific purposes. I just actually had a client who used the swing away function to move their feet out of the way from the sink pipes in their bathroom but still needed the power elevating legrest function.

On another note, Invacare wanted me to announce that they are now cleared (since 2015) to sell power mobility in Canada without restrictions. YAY! Congratulations Invacare. It has been a long road, with a lot of hard work. Definitely looking forward to trialing the new TDX when it comes out here.

Invacare also had their new Libra cushion on display. This is a really nice foam cushion with fluid gel overlay in the well of the cushion. The well is contoured to offer some offloading of the coccyx and ischial tuberosities. The gel is also new and meant to be maintenance free. This is a super nice light weight cushion with some great pressure relieving properties. Definitely going to bring this one out for a trial and pressure mapping session! Stay tuned!

Power assist systems were everywhere at the ISS this year. Although these systems are not “new”, most of the manufacturers were launching new and improved versions of their products which was nice to see and demo. In the images above, I have the Twion (power assist),  E-fix (which converts a manual into a power drive wheelchair), Invacare e-motion wheels (power assist-no image) and the yamaha JWX-2, also known as the Sunrise Quickie X-tender and the yamaha wheelchair motor. Check out their websites for more information.

Freewheel also had a new product this year. They have actually created a way to mount their freewheel onto a manual folding frame! How exciting! They essentially created a removeable cross bar that can be added to most manual folding frames. A super nice addition to this line.

AEL had a cool new trunk lateral hardware called the Omnilink  and it had loads of adjustability! Quite easy to actually adjust the components as well, which is so important when trying to get it into the “just right” position.

NXT and Vicair had some cool new hardware innovations. Check out that headrest mount that can be easily positioned out of the way. Also, check out the backrest quick release bar and the trunk lateral depth adjustment piece. Quite a nice feature if you ask me. Also, Vicair has made some improvements with their covers to make them more breatheable.

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I’ve featured the symmetric designs backrest before on the blog. But here is is again. Such a unique product. They have also made some improvements to make this system more durable and easy to adjust. They also have a new website, which is absolutely beautiful. Definitely a cool product that I would love to trial with the right client.

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Ki mobility had a power tilt system on display at the ISS. This system can be added onto their tilt in space wheelchair to make it easy for a client to access their own tilt. It was a really nice system and was super smooth.

Ottobock had two really cool products this year at the ISS. They had their new adjustable carbon fiber wheelchair called the Voyager Evolution wheelchair. They also had their Terra Flair cushion, which integrates Roho air cells at the back of a foam cushion. This was a very comfortable cushion. Definitely going to keep this one in mind for a trial!

 

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So that’s all for my ISS summary. I hope you found some products here that may help one of your clients in the future. I leave you with this picture of me and Lindsay right before we presented. We don’t look that nervous do we? Perhaps we hide it well! 😉

Thanks again for checking in! And remember, Seating is Super!

Cheryl

Belts, belts and more belts!

Happy Friday Everyone!

In BC we are gearing up for the International Seating Symposium that is being held at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver. This is a super exciting week for those in the wheelchair seating and mobility world. I will be presenting this year along with Lindsay Alford (OT). We will be presenting an instructional session called “The Art of Balance: Function and Posture in Wheelchair Seating”. We will be introducing a clinical reasoning model that we developed. Hope to see some of you there! Here is the link to the brochure if you are interested!

Also, Access Community Therapists will be also be hosting the “Introduction to the Assessment and Management of Eating, Drinking and Swallowing Disorders: A Clinical Approach” workshop on April 28th and 29th. Register quickly if you are interested as spaces fill very quickly! Check out the website for more information.

I thought that I would post some of the positioning belts that I’ve done over the years. Positioning belts can be critical in a seating system from a postural perspective, but are often so complex to integrate into a system as they can often have an impact on the way a client functions. Since we are presenting on this very topic, I thought I would give all of you a sneak peek!14

Here is a custom pelvic support with with angular molded sub-asis pads. The sub-asis pads are secured with swing away harware. Between the sub-asis pads, there are flexible straps connected with a standard push button buckle. The purpose of this belt was to create a rigid system that the client could use when her tone was quite strong. Alternatively, when her tone was quite mild, she could leave the swing away hardware open and simply secure the buckle to allow her to move more freely in the system. Cool eh?

DSC01736Here is an example of how changing a buckle can make all the difference in the world! This client couldn’t use a positioning belt before as it would impede his ability to transfer quickly. By introducing an airplane style buckle, he was now able to use a positioning belt, which prevented him from sliding down in his seating. YAY!

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Semi-rigid belt with evoflex

Here is a semi-rigid pelvic support made with custom sub-asis pads. This system was made for a client who needed more rigid pelvic support but needed to fasten and un-fasten the belt independently. This belt was also done in combination with a dynamic backrest on a light-weight rigid wheelchair frame. This is a nice example of how it is possible to improve postural control while maintaining a client’s ability to function independently.

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Swing away hardware on arcufit

This one is a custom arcufit style belt with a swing away hardware again. The purpose of this hardware though, was to clear the belt out of the way so that the back canes could be folded down to transport the wheelchair in a trunk.

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Custom Rigid Pelvic Saddle

Here is a custom rigid pelvic saddle. This system was created to prevent a client with very limited hip flexion from sliding down in their seating system. Note how much anterior control was needed to keep the client up in the system in order to maintain her ability to drive and be independent in the community.

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Custom pelvic harness for comfy chair

Remember this one? This is a custom “posey” style belt used in an alternate positioning device. This system was made for a client with a lot of tone that wanted a more comfortable option. In his mobility system, he uses a semi-rigid system. This is a nice alternative that is also necessary to reduce his risk for skin breakdown in a very rigid system that he has in his wheelchair.

I hope you liked this collection of positioning belts.For those of you going to the ISS this year, see you next week!

Thanks for checking in! Seating is Super!

Cheryl

Stealth Products i-Drive and the REE at the ROO 2015

.: Stealth Products and Pride Mobility :.

Hello Everyone! I just wanted to say THANK YOU to all my amazing subscribers and readers. It has been a while since my last post, but thanks for always checking in. The past several months have been busy, which is great! Access Community Therapists just launched a new website – WOOHOO! – which I was lucky to be a part of. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Also, happy belated OT month to my fellow OTs! Occupational Therapy month was in October. There was so much OT spirit out there this year and it was so exciting to see so much enthusiam over social media over the past month.

Back in September we had the REE at the ROO and Access was lucky enough to get a private inservice by Mark Scott from Stealth Products. Since I am still technically on maternity leave I was able to bring my son, ‘T’ to the REE and the inservice by Stealth. Mark was even kind enough to entertain ‘T’ with his fabulous cartoon character impressions! Thanks Mark! Anyways, back to wheelchair business!…..

It was great learning about the new i-Drive system and seeing how to use it with their head array drive control and fiber optic switch. Stealth has designed their head array with proximity sensors, which allows the system to be activated once the user is close enough to the pad without needing to physically contact it. The distance required to activate the head array is programmed with the i-Drive system. Although proximity switches are not new in this industry, this head array is particularly smooth and allows the user to have optimal control based on their individual abilities/movements.

The i-Drive system also makes it possible to program and adjust their drive controls through a smart phone or tablet rather than a specialized remote. In addition to sensitivity settings, the head array set-up with the i-Drive is particularly exciting as it can also customize channel assignments and also has “double tap assignment” and “double tap timing adjustment”. This means that any pad or switch can be programmed to control a power chair to move in any direction. Also, by holding 2 switches at the same time, can allow the user to switch directions or switch modes on their wheelchair. This is super exciting as the user only requires 2 reliable directional movements in order to control a power wheelchair to move in 4 different directions and control the modes on their chair. For example, if a client can only reliably hit the back occipital pad and the left temporal pad, by hitting them at the same time can allow the user to move in another direction such as to the right. Then, hitting it again can allow the chair to move in other direction such as backwards. Double tapping either the back or left pad can then be programmed to access the modes of the chair.This was super cool!

In addition to showing us the i-Drive, Margaret and Sydney from Pride Mobility also brought in their new Q6 Edge 2 power wheelchair, which is a midwheel drive power base. This version has notable changes to the aethetic design of the base. They’ve also created a very sturdy base with a strong footplate as you can see from Mark standing on it. In addition, Sydney informed me that Pride has improved the sensitivity of the drive. This hopefully addresses the feedback they were getting from the previous version of the Q6 Edge. Definitely worth a trial with all of these improvements!

.: REE at the ROO :.

The REE at the ROO was once again a great exhibition. It was great seeing so many familiar faces at the event and there were many new products to see. Upon walking in, I ran into Dean Robertson, who has just started a company called Access Driver Rehab Specialists. He was showcasing new hand controls from the UK that he has been working with. These are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also very functional. The hardware is quite minimal and there is also voice activated controls.

Permobil debuted their new F3 and F5 power bases. Both bases have a new distinct design and aesthetic that is different than the former Permobil lines. The F3 and F5 are front wheel drive power bases that offer a variety of power functions including anterior and posterior tilt, seat elevation and on the F5, power standing. Check out their website for more information! These chairs are definitely really cool!

I had the pleasure of meeting Russ Rolt from Active Controls again at the REE. He was showcasing the new proportional chin control joystick and new mounting hardware for the Center Drive System. Based on feedback, Active controls has made the Center Mount Drive System adjustable so that it can be brought closer to the client. The system now has a ball joint, which allows for much improved positioning capabilities. YAY! I also want to thank Bill Randall from NuVision Rehab and Russ Rolt for the sample Power Buddy. This is a power port that you can plug into your power wheelchair to charge your electronic devices like your phone or GPS. Check this product out here!

Nathan Buskell at Motion Specialties had their custom lateral tilt mechanism on display at the REE. This was a nice, smooth lateral tilt that didn’t require much force to activate. The only con, would be the placement of the handle/wheel needed to engage the lateral tilt as it is low on the wheelchair, although this is often an issue with many of the custom lateral tilts out there. A nice design overall though!

Sunrise Medical was debuting their new Quickie Xperience 2. This midwheel drive power base now has an external power seat function box that can be mounted in front of the joystick. Definitely a nice option!

The Roho Group was showcasing their Smart Check device that allows users to check the inflation of their cushion once it has been properly set. This is a fabulous device however, there has been some feedback that it can be a bit tricky to use. It is also quite expensive. If, however, it can be set-up properly, it is an invaluable tool to have with a Roho cushion.

And last, but certainly not least, Advanced Mobility had the Firefly power assist to demo at the REE. This was indeed a fun product. Easy to drive and incredibly fast, smooth and peppy! This product is being exclusively distributed by Advanced Mobility in the lower mainland. Contact them to try one out.

That’s all for today! Thanks for checking in. As always,

Seating is Super!

Cheryl

Custom Power Wheelchair Transfer System

Happy New Year Everyone! Welcome to the first post of the year 2015! As some of you may know, we are expecting our first little one in January 2015! My husband and I just moved and life has been busy in December….hence my MIA status. I still have lots to share with you over the next year but the posts may be a bit less frequent…but hang in there! Seating will continue to be super!

As a welcome back, I thought I would share some photos from Access Community Therapists’ Wheelchair Seating & Positioning Workshop that took place on November 27th and 28th at Motion Specialties. It was another great turnout and we just wanted to say THANK YOU to our client educators for helping us out again.

So, here is a system that was finished right before Christmas last year (2014). It was a custom transfer system that was fabricated on a Permobil M300 base. This base was provided by Fran Wilson, Sales Representative from Self Care Home Health Products. Chad Kania, Seating Technician, from Ability Health Care created the transfer system and built the custom seating system. This system was made for a client with Achondroplasia (Dwarfism). The goals of the system were to:

1) To improve her comfort and positioning
2) To improve her ability to transfer independently
3) To improve her ability to function independently in and around her home

Prior to this, this client had an 18″ wide x 18″ deep, standard power wheelchair with basic seating. She required the use of a step stool to get into it and sat in the system with her legs completely extended and made no contact with the backrest. This was causing her back pain as she essentially sat completely unsupported. Also, in order to get into the system itself, she needed someone to help her get the step stool every time she needed to transfer.

The biggest obstacle was of course….FUNDING! With some good old fashioned OT letter writing, this system was eventually cost shared by the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation and Community Living BC. MSDSI funded the wheelchair base and seating (The Permobil M300 with tilt and the seating system), while CLBC funded the power transfer system. YAY!

The seating system consisted of a foam-in-place backrest with fixed, flat, trunk laterals. The seat was made from carved foam. It was made with a custom drop at the front to allow for a bend at the clients’ knees. Pelvic laterals were also used to guide the clients’ pelvis into the system when she transferred.

Once the foam-in-place backrest and seat were fabricated, trialed, trimmed down and upholstered, here is what it looked like:

Once the seating was completed, custom armrests were made. The standard armrests were used as transfer aids. Custom mounting of the joystick was also needed to get it into a optimal position for driving. In addition, the foot platform was created with a roller blade wheel was installed at the bottom to prevent the system from scratching the wood floors in the home.

Since this system was delivered to the client, she has been using it for a variety of activities around her home such as:

i) Getting her coat out of the closet independently
ii) transferring in and out of bed independently
iii) using the sink in the bathroom
iv) getting to the table for meals and snacks independently
v) opening and closing doors independently

Hearing about all of these functional activities was like an OT dream! Here is a video of the system. This should help with visualizing how this system actually works!

Hope you enjoyed this post and thanks for checking in!

Seating is Super!

Cheryl

The REE at the ROO 2014

Happy Monday Everyone! Access was at the REE..yippee! We had a blast pressure mapping people, mingling with OTs, students, clients, vendors and manufacturers.

Thanks to everyone who stopped by. It was a pleasure meeting all of you. Now, on to the equipment stuff! Here is my summary of the highlights of this year’s Expo.

Active Controls was at the REE again this year. See my post from last year here! Luckily, we had a preview to their new equipment before the REE thanks to Bill Randall at NuVision Rehab. Active Controls was again showcasing their innovative Center Drive System, which connects to a series of different joysticks. The photos below are a few that caught my eye this year. The yellow joystick is called the MicroGuide. This joystick only requires 40 grams of force to activate the control. It was a super nice design that stays in place when in use. This is great for stability when driving. The supportive pads on the sides were also quite nice. Russ Rolt from Active Controls informed us that these were moveable and adjustable. He even told us about a case study where the pads were moved to block the joystick from driving to one side. This was used for the client with CP, who could only steer towards the right. With the pad in place, he was able to drive forwards and back by using the hand supports as a barrier. A nice application and great idea! Below I also have a photo of the Switch-it Touch Drive 2. I’ve written about this product before, but this was my first time trying it out. It was a nice product, but for the right client. It requires a bit more movement through the hand as you need to drag your finger across the screen, then hold to activate the control. Russ mentioned that it often worked best for clients used to using a touch screen for other activities.

Active Controls also allowed us to demo their new head array control with their Center Drive System mounted at the back of a wheelchair. The Center Drive System mounted at the back allowed for easy trials. It was also a very sturdy mount. Russ also showed us the Joybar mounted at the back as an attendant control. By having a receiver at the front and back, you could easily switch a joystick from client use, to attendant control.

So last, but definitely not least, Active Controls has a new Chin Control joystick that is set up with their Center Drive System. This was a very nice product. It worked well with the mounting and was very stable. Check out their website for videos and more information on their innovative products.

Also present at the REE was Symmetric Designs, which is a local manufacturer based on Salt Spring Island, BC. They were showcasing their Free Form Back. This impressive design is available in 4 sizes and comes with a breathable spacer fabric cover. The unique design of this backrest allows for the individual brackets to be twisted and moved to accommodate a client’s contours or provide correctional forces wherever required. What’s nice about this product is that the adjustments can be made anytime. The best feature of this product is that it is so breathable. So many clients, who require a lot of contouring report being quite hot in these systems. This would be a nice option for a client like this.

At the Ability Health Care booth, they were displaying a custom power system that they created, for a client of mine! This system was designed to allow a client with Achondroplasia to transfer independently. This system will be set up with a custom backrest and cushion. Keep checking in to see the final product!

Ability Health Care was also showing off their new carbon fiber backrests. With these backrests, clients will initially be set up with a custom molded plastic back. Once the shape and design is perfected, a carbon fiber backrest can be made off of the shape of the plastic back. Carbon fiber cannot be changed once it is formed and therefore the plastic back must be a perfect fit before moving on to the carbon version. Of course, the benefit of the carbon fiber is its light weight…and aesthetic!

Another new product on the market is the Rifton HTS or Hygiene, Toileting System. I just set this product up for a client of mine with CP who needed a commode with a very low seat to floor height for transfers. It is a nice design that is super easy to adjust. The family loved it because they could adjust and remove the seating components as needed. Motion Specialties had this product at the REE this year.

Dynamic Health Care Solutions had a few new items. Vicair has come out with a new design for their air cells. YAY! The edges of the cells are now rounded and they have redesigned the cells with a different material to prevent them from deflating. They have also re-designed their backrest hardware and brackets. The design is quite nice as the mounting bracket itself is quite small with lots of adjustment. Motion Composites has also released an HD/Heavy Duty version of their Helio. The key to the design is the carbon fiber cross-brace, which makes this folding manual very light-weight and sturdy.

Priority Posture Systems Ltd was showing off their custom dynamic footrests. This was designed by Dave Cooper and is currently being used at Sunny Hill Health Centre. This product is ideal for those with Spastic CP who have difficulty with leg positioning and protection. Ideally, these are set-up with shoe holders, which allows the client to kick down, out and forwards. Other products on the market are limited to just an up and down motion, which generally is not adequate for many clients with significant tone and strong movement patterns.

Priority Posture Systems Ltd was also displaying their custom/off the shelf cushion for single foot-propelling clients and their raised toilet seat with cut out with silicone coating. These products are priced lower than a typical custom product, but were made with a universal design in mind. The cushion is a nice design with ischial block, full femur support for the client’s affected side, and slanted cutout for the foot-propelling side. Please contact James Cooper, if you would like more information on these products.

Westech Health Care Ltd is now distributing Ranger Wheelchairs. Ranger has just released the Batam rear wheel drive power base that has been made to be even more compact than their Express model. Check it out!

Sunrise Medical has made some changes to their more popular manual wheelchair models. The Quickie Iris for example now has several improvements including covered rockers to prevent debris from collecting in the spaces, new front rigging mounting, new pin style for the rockers and new matte colours!

The Quickie 2 also has the new front rigging mounting as well as a new light weight wheel rim option at no charge!

Advanced Health Care (AHC) was also showcasing some products with the Roho Group. The t-zone mattress, was being displayed. Here is a picture of it as I didn’t have one the last time I announced it.

Finally, here is the Blake Medical backrest. I announced this product last year after the REE, but I somehow missed it the last time. Here it is this year! The backrest is lined with their comfort gel, which makes for a very nice, soft AND comfortable backrest.

That’s all for today folks! Thanks for checking in!

Seating is Super!

Cheryl

Attendant Power Assist! The Viamobile

Hello Everyone! Happy Wednesday! Can you believe August is coming to an end? My, my this summer has gone by quickly! I have a few exciting announcements to make. Access Community Therapists Ltd has two upcoming courses: The Pressure is On: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Pressure Management in the Community on November 7th and 8th and Wheelchair Seating & Positioning: Practical Applications on November 28th and 29th. To register, please visit the Access website and fill out the registration form. Both courses are highly interactive and offer hands on experience with clients. Check out some photos of the seating course here! Hope to see you there!

Now, onto some new rehab stuff! I just set-up an attendant power assist on a manual tilt-in-space wheelchair called the VIAMOBILE (by invacare). There actually isn’t much information online about this product, which was surprising to me. The system is comprised of a remote handle that turns the system on and off and powers the motor to either roll forwards or backwards. When the system is turned on, the centre wheel drops onto the ground. This offloads the rear wheels, which can tilt the system a bit forwards. Luckily we were working with a tilt-in-space wheelchair. That way, the client can be tilted slightly when the system is on.  Here are some photos of the system:

Invacare has just revised this product and it is now super easy to remove and set-up. I love that it can be so easily removed. My client who needed it, manually-self propels indoors, but lives in a very hilly neighborhood and his caregivers were having a lot of trouble getting him around the community. Because he manually self-propels, we needed to keep the wheelchair light. By removing the motor of the viamobile when indoors allowed us to do that. The viamobile was set up on a Quickie Iris manual tilt wheelchair. See some images below.

This system is by no means cheap. Many funding agencies such as Ministry will not fund this system. You may have to look for private funds for a system like this, which is definitely a downside. On a brighter note, an attendant power assist can be extremely useful to prevent caregiver injuries as well as to enable your clients to get out more often in the community. Definitely worth while, if you can find funding. This system was set-up by Jody Mair and Nathan Buskell at Motion Specialties. Thanks to you both for setting this up! Until next time!

Seating is Super!

Cheryl

Balancing Function and Posture. Custom Seating and Manual Wheelchairs

Happy Friday Everyone! It’s almost the weekend! Just wanted to share with you a system I finished for a client with Spina Bifida. This client self-propels around indoors, but also needed a system that would be caregiver friendly and could fold AND could also accommodate custom seating components. We selected the Quickie 2 wheelchair base as it was lightweight, but could still fold. The Quickie 2 is a versatile wheelchair that has adjustable centre of gravity, various castor sizes and seat to floor height options, angle and depth adjustable back canes, and armrest options. Because of the range of options, this wheelchair is therefore a nice light weight choice that can accommodate various seating components, which came in handy for this client. This wheelchair was provided by Motion Specialties.

Here are a couple of images from the fabrication process:

With regards to the seating, we created a custom contoured backrest shell and did a foam-in-place insert. See here for more information on custom seating techniques. A custom shell backrest was selected because my client’s trunk was quite short due to her scoliosis and severe lordosis. With this custom shell, we were able to create a very deep contour with the laterals but were also able to flare the bottom to clear her thighs and trim the top to allow for scapular clearance and improved self-propelling. The shell backrest is also quite light weight, which is important for any self-propeller! We then did a carved foam seat with sensus foam ischial well for increased comfort and also created contouring for her thighs. This provided stability as well as comfort for the client. One issue that came up, was when we improved her posture and trunk alignment, we accidentally brought her up too high to reach her wheels. Oops! In order to fix this, we actually cut out the sides of the cushion and dropped the cushion/seat  between the seat canes to bring her back closer to her hand rims. Phew! crisis averted! Thanks to Chad at Ability Health Care for completing the seating for this system.

Well that’s all for today! Time to enjoy the weekend. Thanks for checking in today!

Seating is Super!

Cheryl

Seating Innovation! Carbon Fiber Custom Backrest and Custom Power Wheelchair Switch

Happy Thursday Everyone! Today I wanted to share some new seating products with you. Ability Health Care has begun fabrication of custom molded carbon fiber backrests. These backrests are super lightweight and have been based off of their custom plastic backrests that have worked very well for many clients. These backrests are ideal for manual wheelchair users who require a lightweight back support. The shape of the backrest is taken by plaster casting a client’s back and forming the backrest off of that cast. The only downside of this backrest is that poor Chad Kania, the seating technician at Ability Health Care has been taking the carbon fiber particles with him home. Apparently they can be quite itchy! =)

Another seating innovation I would like to share with you is a video by Wahbi Ghanbur from Advanced Mobility. He has made a flexible switch that is super sensitive to touch and can be mounted below the joystick handle on a power wheelchair…or likely anywhere else. In this video, the switch has been programmed to change the modes on the system. Check this out!

If you are interested in any of these great products please contact Ability Health Care for the backrest and Advanced Mobility for the switch directly! Thanks for checking in today!

Seating is Super!

Cheryl