ATP Series

Leaning on an Armrest? Check the Basics

Leaning on an armrest can be caused by a number of postural issues. But it can also be caused by more basic problems, says Ryan Hagy, MOT, OTR/L, ATP, area VP of sales for United Seating & Mobility.

“First, I’d probably start looking at the sitting surface they’re on,” he says. “Depending on the patient, if that cushion wasn’t comfortable to them, maybe they put something else underneath to add comfort, setting them askew.”

He also suggests taking a look at the cushion itself.

“They might have taken the cushion cover off to wash it,” he points out. “And sometimes, they don’t put it all back together the right way. Once you pull the cover off — it says ‘back’ and ‘bottom’ on it, but it doesn’t say that on the cushion, so it doesn’t necessarily go back on the way it comes off . Is the cushion they’re sitting on placed the right way, is it put back under them correctly? I’d look at what they’re actually sitting on first.”

All of which underscores the need for a comprehensive mat evaluation.

“I don’t know how many times,” Hagy says, “we’ve removed someone from their seating system and put them on a mat, and then looked at the cushion and said, ‘It probably shouldn’t be doing that….’”

This article originally appeared in the October 2012 issue of Mobility Management.

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