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

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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

Advanced Health Care and ROHO Inservice

Happy Monday everyone! In BC, we are just wrapping up the long weekend. It was rainy start to Victoria Day today, but I hope everyone had a lovely afternoon in the clear weather anyways. I’ve been MIA for a while because I just got back from New York City! Yes, that’s right, the BIG Apple! I was there with my husband for a conference as well as for some vacation time. I even brought back some photos and stories for you. I hope you like them! Before I get into that, I would love to share with you some new-ish products by the ROHO group. Shawn Aslani from Advanced Health Care Products and Andy Woodcock, Canadian Sales Manager from the ROHO group came to the Access office to give us a heads up on new products. So here you go! See below of a photo of a Roho Enhancer cushion. It is essentially a Roho cushion that has different cell heights integrated into the same cushion to offer some positioning/contouring properties. We also spoke saw the ROHO hybrid Elite cushion (sorry, no photo, but click here). This is a great option for clients who require a more stable front end for transfers or for those require more rigidity for positioning. I do caution you to do a thorough trial though as the Roho air cells are not as high as the high profile cushions, which can allow some clients to bottom out. Also, WATCH THOSE GREATER TROCHANTERS on this cushion. I’ve sometime cut the sides down or ordered a wider cushion to clear the GTs. If you are concerned, a safer option is the Roho Quadtro. You can lose stability from this cushion, but when inflated properly it can work very well. Check out the Roho Videos for inflation education. These are great resources for caregivers too!

Andy also brought in the new hardware they are using for their Agility backrests. This hardware is very, VERY  light in weight. It’s a nice design and really cuts down on the bulk without completely losing adjustability for positioning of the backrest. Most likely best for a client who can do without a lot of adjustment changes, but is not quite set for fixed mounted brackets. Shawn also brought in some Body Point products such as the Evoflex Pelvic Stabilizer. I’ve used this product quite a few times now and am really liking it. It’s nice for client’s who transfer on their own as the belt straps stay up and out of the way of the seat. It also offers a bit more positioning support than the standard body point belts. This belt also comes with a Sub-ASIS pad kit and a mounting kit. These are both great options to consider. See my post here to see how I’ve used it with a client of mine.

Now, for some fun facts about New York! We went to the Museum of Modern Art (aka MoMA) to take in some of the most iconic pieces by Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso and even Andy Warhol. During our exploration of the museum, we ran into this! The Accessible Icon Project! This project was focused on re-designing the International Symbol of Access into a more active image of a wheelchair user. I was so excited to see this at MoMA. New York is filled with older, narrow buildings with narrow hallways, narrow walkways, tons of stairs and minimal ramping. I have to say though, I did notice some changes at some of the newer tourist attractions. For example, at the 9/11 memorial, the corners of the memorial are undercut/slanted to allow for a wheelchair user to come up close to the fountain’s edge. Although the edges of the fountain were still quite high, it did make the fountain much easier to view.  On a side note, the 9/11 memorial was a truly moving and heartwrenching sight. I still remember where I was when I heard about the whole thing. We both definitely appreciated the opportunity to pay our respects at the site during our trip. Also,  the 9/11 museum opens tomorrow. We just missed it, but would have loved to have seen it. Not sure if I could have handled it though…..

On a happier note, I will leave you with a picture of the skyline of NYC from the Top of the Rock.

Thanks for checking in again!

Seating is Super!

Cheryl

REE at the ROO

Hello Everyone! Welcome to my very first post! The Rehab Equipment Expo at the Richmond Olympic Oval (REE at the ROO) was held on Monday, September 9th, 2013.  The entrance fee was only $2, which was waved if you arrived by transit, shuttle, biked or carpooled, so, definitely worth a visit!  The venue was great and the exhibit booths were informative with lots of equipment to see and demo.  I always enjoy browsing the equipment and trying things out.

Advanced Mobility was debuting their JACO by Kinova, a joystick controlled robotic arm. Kinova was founded in 2006 and is a Canadian based company. This robotic arm consists of six axes of movement and even has a 3-fingered hand. The product was inspired by the creator’s family members who had Muscular Dystrophy. This isn’t by any means a cheap product, but the functional benefits for a client would be unparalleled. With the right funding, this product would make a huge difference in someone’s life. I will definitely be keeping this one in mind!

Active Controls Rehab Solutions had an exhibit booth and were showing off their new Center Drive System. This product definitely caught my eye at the Expo this year. This product can work with most power wheelchair bases (except for Invacare bases) and is essentially a joystick that can be removed and plugged back into place quickly and easily. The mount for the Center Drive System can be set up in various positions however, at the expo, the system was set up at the center of the seat and behind the backrest as an attendant control. The tiller style joystick (or “JoyBar”) was a creative design that would definitely be appealing to clients who like the scooter style drive, but require more supportive seating from a power wheelchair base. The Center Drive System can be even be paired with a variety of different joystick options including the Switch-It drive controls, which have a variety of great products including the Touch Drive 2, the Micropilot miniature joystick and integrated tray and switch drive controls. The pads/hand supports on both sides of the joystick are quite nice as well. Very soft and comfortable. I am definitely looking forward to trying these products out with a client!

Body Point also had a few new items. On their chest harness they have designed a clip at the front of the chest harness that can swivel while its secured. This is a nice design as it will help to keep the harness in place over the chest and shoulders. At their booth, they were also showing off their new commode/shower chest straps. The material of these chest straps were antimicrobial and were also perforated for quick drying. The material was soft to touch. I will definitely be trying these out soon.

The ROHO group has a new backrest called the Agility back system. This is a nice design with Roho air cells down the center of the back and along the laterals. Great for pressure relief along the spinous processes and along the ribs on the laterals.  The backrest has some mild midline guidance and would likely benefit a client needing lower lateral contact. There is also a milder contoured backrest with air cells only along the back. Although this back is quite simple, extra foam can likely be added for better contouring, support and control. The back of the backrest can also be customized with colour panels, which is a nice option for the user.

Vicair has also come out with a backrest. The NXT VC backrest is a moderately contoured backrest with Vicair air cells that can be moved around to different sections in the backrest (similar to their cushions).  Moving the air cells around will allow for accommodation as well as increased contact and support at different parts of the trunk/spine while still providing pressure relief. Definitely a different and interesting concept for a backrest that could definitely work with some clients. Like the cushions, for clients who have sensation, this product will likely work best if they prefer the feel of the Vicair cells. I’ve been finding that some clients love the feel of the air pockets while others don’t prefer them.

Ride Designs has created new mounting hardware for their backrest. This is a nice design that allows for more flexibility with regards to positioning. What’s particularly unique about this hardware is that it allows the backrest to be mounted forward from the canes. Standard mounting hardware does not usually allow for this. Overall, this hardware is streamlined and has a nice clean aesthetic.

Ability Health Care has been making custom fabricated ABS backrests. These backrest have worked well for many clients with severe spinal curvatures that are difficult to control and support with a commercial backrest. These backrest are light weight and ideal for manual wheelchair users who don’t want to add a lot of weight to their system but require the support and control to function and manually self-propel. These backrests are made by taking a cast of the client’s back. Once the cast is set, the ABS is heated and molded to the cast shape. What makes these backrest special are that they can be mounted at any height, position or orientation. If funds are available, these backrests are a great option.

Quantum Rehab has launched a new Tru Balance 3 Rehab seat. This seat is priced on the higher end but offers power tilt, recline, seat elevation, and articulating footrests. The sides of the seat and armrests are designed to allow various mounting options for seating components and assistive technology.

The FreeWheel is a removeable wheel that can be secured to a manual wheelchair with a rigid footrest. It is designed to manage rough or uneven terrain. Clients that have this product often take this when traveling as it enables them to  manage terrain like cobblestone sidewalks or even sand (apparently)! It is quick to put on and take off, which makes this product incredibly versatile.

The Smart Drive is a product by Max Mobility. It’s a new power assist device that mounts to the back of a manual wheelchair and can be removed when it isn’t needed. Other power assist systems are set-up through the wheels. If a client wanted to remove these, they would need to bring another set of standard wheels with them, which isn’t practical. Clients with products like the Magic Wheels (power assist wheels) will often leave them on at all times. What’s nice about the Smart Drive, is the ability for the client to set-up and remove the system as needed.

The TiLite AERO T is a light weight aluminum rigid frame manual wheelchair. The dual tube style has been used here to achieve a lighter weight without sacrificing strength and durability. I was asked to feel the weight of 3 different sized tubes and it was clear that the narrowest tube was far lighter than the other wider tubes. The total weight of this base is 12 lbs.

This new wheelchair is called “Elevation” and has been designed by Instinct Mobility. PDG is now distributing this product, which is quite exciting. This is an incredibly unique manual wheelchair that has 10 inches of dynamic seat dump and elevation and 30 degrees adjustment to the back angle. Essentially, this wheelchair allows a client to move from sitting to standing by simply engaging a lever located on the seat rails of the chair. (Note: There is a video of this on the Instinct Mobility website). This wheelchair has been designed primarily for clients with paraplegia but modifications can be made to the placement of the levers to make it possible for clients with other functional abilities to use it.  Although this manual rigid wheelchair is heavier than others on the market, the functional and medical benefits of this system are significant. Definitely worth a trial with the right client.

Priority Posture Systems Ltd. are now fabricating alternate positioning devices or “comfy chairs”. The foam in these comfy chairs are custom carved to meet a client’s unique or complex postural needs. These systems can also include a dynamic tilt option and elevating legrests that are operated by hand levers (similar to manual wheelchair tilt systems). These systems are quite aesthetically pleasing and are upholstered in the fabric of the client’s choosing.

The i2i is a Stealth Products head and neck positioning system. I have used this product a couple of times and it has worked very well for clients with head and neck flexion, extension, side flexion or rotation deformities. This product is great but must be trialed to determine whether a client can tolerate such rigid control.

There were so many great new products at the REE this year. One product that I missed, but heard about afterwards was the Blake Medical Geo-Matrix Silverback Backrest. This backrest apparently integrates the blake gel for added pressure relief and comfort. Definitely a product I wish I didn’t miss. I will have to get a picture of this one soon to show all of you!

Thank you for checking in today. Seating is Super!

Cheryl