If the seat depth is too long then the user can’t reach the backrest and will start to slide down the chair to find a more sturdy and comfortable position. Alternatively, if the seat depth is too shallow, the user will start to lean forward to find support on their feet. This will cause strain on the user’s back, neck, and thighs.
Common problems experienced by elderly wheelchair users with an ill-fitting wheelchair. Source: Karma Medical
The correct sitting position in a wheelchair for wheelchair users should start with the pelvis at the junction where the seat cushion meets the backrest. In this position, the pelvis should be in the most stable position. If the user is elderly and requires extra support to remain in this ideal position, you can use a pelvic belt.
The correct way to wear a pelvic belt is along the pelvis, NOT the stomach, where you can cause serious injury. Source: Karma Medical
Once the user has a stable pelvic position, you can adapt the rest of the wheelchair such as backrest height, footrests, armrest height, and even the correct height of the rear wheel. If the wheelchair seat is too deep, an easy solution is to put a cushion between the user and the backrest to make up for the extra space in the event that a better fitting wheelchair isn’t an option.
In the next blog, we will talk about how the strength of the seat upholstery affects the user’s seating posture!
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