Seating for spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy – Callum’s Story

Callum is a 20 year old gentleman who enjoys spending time with his family. He lives at home and attends college five days a week.

Jean, Callum’s grandmother, got in touch with us to say how thankful the family were for Callum’s new CareFlex chair. Callum wants to share his story in the hope that it can help someone else.

“I didn’t realise how having a seat with appropriate support could be so life changing.”

Callum has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy. He has undergone surgery for spinal rods with pelvic fusion, which was deemed successful. He is a wheelchair user and has access to a range of specialist equipment at home, including hoists and an electric shower trolley. Callum communicates through eye movements; he is currently trialling an eye gaze communication aid.

Prior to CareFlex involvement, Callum used a chair provided by his local authority; Callum did not appear comfortable nor was his posture supported in the chair. Jean reported the following concerns:

  • Lack of postural support
  • Inappropriate seat depth
  • No footplate
  • Non-functioning tilt-in-space
  • Callum only tolerated a maximum of one hour in the chair before wanting to go back to bed
  • Overall size prevented manoeuvrabilityof the chair between rooms

Callum’s expectations were simple – he wanted to be comfortable and to be able to spend more time with his family in the lounge. His family were beginning to worry about his quality of life as he was no longer the happy smiling young man they knew. They were also concerned about his poor posture affecting the success of his previous surgery and did not want to jeopardise this.

Fundraising was soon underway, including sponsored marathons and cake sales. When monies were raised, CareFlex were called in to see if we could help.

Following Callum’s assessment with one of our Business Development Managers, Les Jones, it was evident that Callum experienced the following postural challenges:

  • Pelvic instability
  • Involuntary movements, including an extensor thrust
  • Asymmetrical trunk, with leaning to one side
  • Leg length discrepancy
  • Fatigue
  • Discomfort

Callum was at risk of further postural deterioration, resulting in an increased risk of pressure injuries, illness, social isolation, and, above all else, poor quality of life. It was clear that Callum would benefit from a new seating system that better supported his posture while allowing him to interact with family. The chair needed to be able to finely balance correction and accommodation of his posture; appropriate support and pelvic stability would help minimise his involuntary movements, improve his alignment, and, most importantly, increase his comfort levels.

It was evident from discussions with Jean that the SmartSeatPro, our revolutionary modular chair, would be the chair to trial. The trial was a success and Callum immediately communicated his like of the chair; having now been prescribed the SmartSeatPro, it meets Callum’s needs as follows:

  • Flexible and adjustable postural support throughout the chair ensures appropriate management of Callum’s complex postural needs
  • Appropriate seat depth ensures Callum has maximum contact with the support surface, which improves his comfort levels and reduces his risk of pressure injuries
  • A contoured seat cushion and a padded pelvic strap improves Callum’s pelvic stability
  • Tilt-in-spacefurther encourages pelvic stability while promoting energy management and a regular change of position
  • A custom made padded channel footplate, designed as part of our tailored solutions service, offers the feedback Callum needs for stability, in turn improving his muscle tone and managing his involuntary movements
  • The unique multi-adjustable back and wings correct Callum’s trunk asymmetry as much as possible then accommodates his resulting spinal and pelvic posture
  • A full width leg rest with channels supports the lower limbs in as aligned position as possible
  • Overall size allows the chair to move between rooms giving Callum more freedom around the home and reduces the need for moving & handling

Jean confirmed that Callum’s involuntary movements are almost completely managed with his feet remaining on the footplates and his tendency to over-extend stopping. He is able to sit in the chair all day and have the interaction with his family he so desired.

Jean stated that she felt that Callum had been rescued and he is the happiest she has seen him in a very long time. Callum being prescribed this chair has taken away her family’s constant worry, in turn improving their lives too.

Jean was also impressed with CareFlex as a company, stating that the family had received a fantastic service from fitting to finish. Les remains involved in the review process to ensure Callum continues to get the support he needs from his chair.

At CareFlex, we strongly believe in our ethos: we strive to balance posture and pressure management with the individual’s own goals, whilst promoting comfort, independence and a meaningful life.

When we asked Jean to sum up Callum’s experience of obtaining a new chair from CareFlex she said:

“CareFlex you gave us back our happy young man, thank you seems such a small word for such a big thing!”

Get in touch to arrange a free no-obligation assessment if you think you or your loved one need a supportive yet comfortable chair and seating for spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy, like Callum, from CareFlex specialist seating.