Specialist Seating in the Care Home Environment
Care homes for the older person provide accommodation and personal care for those who need additional support in their daily lives. Personal care might include support with eating, drinking, washing, dressing, going to the toilet and taking medication1.
If a loved one moves to a care home, we want to make sure that they continue with the best quality of life possible. Understanding and appreciating the importance of good posture can help towards this objective. Good posture is critical for comfort, function, engagement, health, and wellbeing.
When the older person, especially those who may be frail, sits in an asymmetrical and unsupported posture for prolonged periods of time it can lead to pain, dependency, isolation, poor physiological function and ill-health. Gravity and its effects can also trap individuals in destructive postures. An inability to sit out can result in individuals becoming confined to their bed and the four walls of their room, unsurprisingly further impacting on their quality of life.
It is important that individuals residing in care homes have their seating needs addressed.
What Are the Main Seating Considerations for the Care Home Environment?
- Comfort should be the main objective when providing specialist seating.
- Ensuring comfort, which includes energy conservation and pain management, can ultimately improve quality of life.
- Being comfortable can also increase tolerance of a desired seated position.
- If an individual isn’t comfortable then they may not use the chair regardless of the clinical benefits.
- Appropriate pelvic stability, trunk alignment, and foot and head support are vital for physiological function, including breathing, swallow ability and digestion.
- Stability when seated can encourage functional independence by allowing freedom of movements in the arms.
- Adequate postural support can also reduce the risk of further postural challenges.
- Older persons can be at risk of developing pressure injuries, also known as pressure ulcers, due to the increased likelihood of prolonged rest and immobility.
- When pressure injuries occur, they can have a profound impact on the overall wellbeing of individuals, and can be both painful and debilitating2.
- Equal weight distribution over the maximum surface area possible with a regular change of position is crucial for reducing the risk of pressure injuries.
- The opportunity to sit out can offer a much-needed change of position to encourage blood flow and redistribute pressure.
- Some residents may be at an increased risk of falls, either due to specific postural challenges or general weakness from age and deconditioning.
- Reduced postural control and stability can result in individuals sliding out of their chair or falling during transfers.
- The pelvis must be stable and the feet adequately supported to promote postural stability and help keep the user in the chair.
- With age comes an increased risk of illness and disability, which can translate to immobility.
- 73% of women and 78% of men aged between 65 and 74 in England are classed as overweight, obese or morbidly obese3. Being mobile is a crucial aspect of good health.
- The chair prescribed must be compatible with the user’s mode of transferring and encourage mobility; seat height and foot placement must allow a safe sit-to-stand, or the chair dimensions must assist hoist transfers.
How Can CareFlex Specialist Seating Help?
With an appropriate seating choice, residents can be more comfortable and they can be encouraged to be more independent, active and sociable.
Specialist Seating can help offer individuals an improved quality of life.
CareFlex can help if you have a loved one who resides at a care home. As a seating provider we want to enable care homes to access any Specialist Seating indicated, and we can offer a free no-obligation seating assessment.
- CareFlex Specialist Seating is comfortable and highly adjustable with seat dimension flexibility to suit a multi-user environment. The chairs are easy to use and we have simple to follow user guides.
- CareFlex chairs offer postural support through a range of functions and accessories to encourage pelvic stability, trunk alignment, foot support, and head control, which are essential for function and independence.
- Our integrated pressure redistributing WaterCell Technology provide dynamic pressure redistribution for those at risk of pressure injury.
- Tilt-in-space can further help encourage pressure redistribution, if safe and appropriate.
- The tilt-in-space function can also help keep the user from sliding or falling from their chair, providing them with the necessary stability to enhance feelings of safety.
- A negative angle leg rest and flip-up footplate can help the mobile user achieve good foot placement to enable safe transfers.
- We also have a tailored solution service if something more bespoke is identified at assessment.
What About Rise & Recline Chairs?
CareFlex are excited to offer a selection of Rise & Recline chairs to accompany our Specialist Seating range.
Our Rise & Recline chairs are designed with an individual’s wellbeing and independence in mind, aiding daily living whilst ensuring optimum comfort. The simple push of a button will raise the user forward and upward to a safe standing position or gently recline them back to rest and relax.
Rise & Recline chairs can assist in maintaining or improving the general health, and ultimately the quality of life, of users who are sitting for prolonged periods of time but require the ability to stand for transfers or mobility throughout the day.
- Repositioning and redistributing weight away from vulnerable areas regularly can reduce the risk of pressure injuries.
- Elevating the lower limbs above hip level may help improve swelling and encourage circulation.
- The ability to recline the body, in conjunction with appropriate pelvic stability, can improve energy management.
- Trunk support and alignment may improve physiological function, including breathing and digestion.
- Head control and an improved line of vision can promote social interaction and engagement in activities.
It must be noted that Rise & Recline chairs are not suitable for all users. They are generally not suitable for users with significant health conditions. They do not offer the necessary postural support for those with more complex postural challenges. They also do not provide the robustness needed for those with considerable involuntary movements. Our range of Specialist Seating chairs offer enhanced postural management and pressure care for those indicated.
At CareFlex we are committed to keeping our customers and our staff safe. We have introduced new safe working guidance in light of these unprecedented times that we are all facing. Face-to-face visits are being risk assessed to determine if they are low-risk and therefore safe to proceed. We are then following government advice with regards to personal protective equipment and social distancing, where possible. We are also able to offer remote assessments and clinical support where face-to-face contact is deemed unsafe. Please click here if you would like to see our guidance document.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch for further information.
- Age UK (2020) Care homes Available from: https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/care/arranging-care/care-homes/
- Moore ZE, Webster J, Samuriwo R (2015) Wound-care teams for preventing and treating pressure ulcers Cochrane Database Syst Rev16(9)
- National Statistics (2018) The Health Survey for England 2017Available from: https://digital.nhs.uk/data-and-information/publications/statistical/health-survey-for-england/2017