The Power of Pressure Relief

Case Study

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Client: Meghan

Diagnosis: Congenital muscular dystrophy. Used her first wheelchair at age 6.

Mobility Equipment Used: Invacare 3G Storm Arrow with Motion Concepts lateral tilt system and specialized seating.

The Challenges: An energetic 16-year-old, Meghan has difficulty sitting and holding herself upright. Severe contractures cause stress points on her hips and joints. Meghan relied on others to provide pressure relief.

What Worked: The lateral tilt system — a standard offering from Motion Concepts —was selected because it offers 15 degrees of lateral tilt side to side while remaining in an upright position. The lateral tilt function enables Meghan to shift her body position when she needs to. Her father reports that just tilting two to three degrees provides such dramatic pressure relief that he can see Meghan's facial expressions change. Prior to using the lateral tilt system, Meghan's family and caregivers used wedges, blankets and pillows to try to provide some relief. Now, Meghan can reposition herself independently.

"I find the lateral tilt extremely effective in relieving pressure points on my hips and back, as well as helping with my posture by straightening my spine," Meghan says.

The Results: With her new independence, Meghan has been able to maximize her use of her power chair. She uses the chair while attending high school and playing power chair hockey. Recently, Meghan traveled to Calgary, Alberta, to participate in the 2006 North American Power-Hockey Cup… and came home with a bronze medal!

This article originally appeared in the October 2006 issue of Mobility Management.

In Support of Upper-Extremity Positioning