A Manufacturer's Perspective: Why Offering Other Forms of Tilt Is Important

Amysystems power lateral tilt

Amysystems’ power lateral tilt as seen at the 2016 International Seating Symposium in Vancouver, B.C.

Rob Travers, VP of sales & marketing, was on the road when he answered my call on the different forms of power tilt that Amysystems currently offers.

While Amysystems — aka, Amylior Inc., with offices in Vaudreuil-Dorion, Quebec, and Champlain, N.Y. — currently sells Alltrack power wheelchairs in mid-wheel, rear-wheel, bariatric and pediatric configurations, and is getting ready to add NXT seat cushions to its product line, the company has a longer history as a power positioning manufacturer. Its complex rehab seating systems are compatible with power chairs produced by the industry’s major manufacturers as well as those from smaller, niche power chair manufacturers. Working with so many different power bases gives Amysystems a particularly interesting perspective on less common forms of power positioning, including lateral tilt.

“We do lateral in custom only because the volume of it doesn’t really justify, for the time being, having it the production line,” Travers said. Of wheelchair users whose seating teams have elected to try Amysystems’ lateral tilt, he said, “Mostly, it’s [because of] posture: scoliosis, really bad cases. Also, trying to get the head into a neutral position. Sometimes the head is so far tilted over that they look for ways to try to get the head and body in a neutral position, and lateral tilt is a solution.”

Travers has seen such clients’ wheelchair seats stuffed with rolled-up towels, wedges and extra cushions, all attempting to achieve that more neutral position, but failing to do so. For these clients, lateral tilt can be a much more functional answer. And although lateral tilt is currently considered a custom option, Travers said the ordering process isn’t as complicated as you might think — and doesn’t add undue time to the delivery process.

“As soon as the reps get wind of lateral tilt, anything that’s custom, they refer them all to our product specialist,” Travers said. “We have a few basic questions that we’ll go over with them. The measurements are pretty straightforward.”

The resulting lateral tilt system mimics a posterior tilt system’s range of functionality: “The nice thing about power is we give them a range: It’s basically 0° to 50°, and you can stop it pretty much anywhere you want in that range. It allows you to set it exactly where you want it and be able to move it or adjust it throughout the day, similar to posterior tilt. That gives you a lot of pressure relief and adjustability that rolled-up towels or wedges don’t give you.”

Given the low number of lateral tilt requests that Amysystems typically gets in a year, why does the company still offer it?

“It’s strictly demand,” Travers said. “We’ve been doing custom from day one — from 1997 — and a lot of people are creative out there. Some therapists are very creative, some ATPs are very creative, and they see power custom features as a potential solution for a customer. They’ll give us a call because we can do the custom [seating], we can do the full chair.”

He acknowledged that a lot of clinicians don’t know lateral tilt is a power positioning possibility, but “when we show them the pictures and they see the chairs, all sorts of light bulbs start flashing in their heads. Sometimes they tried to fix [a postural problem] with cushioning and wedges, and often that’s not enough. Giving them power [positioning] to do that is a much better solution.”

And with that, Travers turned back to his road trip, taking the possibilities of powered seating — including lateral tilt — to the next places they might be needed.

This article originally appeared in the June 2016 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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