How Adjustability Could Alter the Landscape

If seating philosophies can be generally described as accommodating or intervening, then adjustability could offer another option.

Free Form Seating

Symmetric Designs’ Free Form Seating.

“Adjustability plays a huge role in both intervention and accommodation seating methods,” says Cindi Petito, OTR/L, ATP, CAPS, CHAS Group Health Care Corp. “With seating that is accommodating, adjustability is beneficial when changes occur as a result of any new onset of medical complications, such as skin breakdown, amputations or pain. Seating systems that are intervening have to be adjustable in order to change as the positioning goals are being achieved. With children, growth is an important factor, whether the seating system is accommodating or intervening.”

Systems by Matrix Seating USA and Symmetric Designs potentially give clinicians and ATPs more options by offering adjustability that’s available when needed. Those systems can accommodate, for example, existing kyphosis, but can also be constructed to gradually intervene to correct a postural issue or offer increased support.

The systems also accommodate tone by “giving” when spasticity is present while still providing stability and support.

Matrix Seating custom back

Matrix Seating USA’s custom back.

“Accommodation enables a client to be comfortable in their current state,” says Greg Sims, ATP, CEO of Matrix Seating USA. “However, clients can grow, and weight can fluctuate. Adjustability enables the client’s seat to continue to accommodate them appropriately until their insurance utilization enables them to purchase a new seat, if necessary. Adjustability is a crucial element in intervention, and ultimately correction, because it allows for incremental changes that can be tolerated by the client and achieve the desired results. In order for intervention and or correction to be successful, a client’s skin integrity and pain should be carefully managed. The more ‘fixed’ a client is, the more incremental the changes need to be to eliminate pain and skin breakdown.”

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

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