In the previous blog, we covered how to prevent elderly wheelchair user’s heads from dropping if they are in the first category of “can’t walk fast or far”. This blog will explain how to prevent their head from dropping for those users who cannot walk at all but can sit up steadily.
Solid and good support on the seat upholstery
A loose wheelchair upholstery is the main factor that can contribute to uncomfortable sitting in this group of users. The stretched-out material will result in the hammock effect, which can lead to secondary injuries such as pressure sores and scoliosis. To prevent these injuries, ensure that the velcro straps on the wheelchair’s backrest are adjusted correctly and the seat has a firm base.
Using a pressure relief cushion to prevent the elderly from dropping their head
To increase the support of the pelvis, the user can purchase a pressure relief cushion. Depending on the needs of the user, will depend on which type of cushion they will benefit from. In addition, the user can try a lumbar support cushion that will hold the pelvis in the correct seating position when used correctly. The lumbar cushion should be placed between the lower back and waist, not the buttocks.
How to use a pelvic belt to prevent bad sitting
The most misleading solution that we see to counteract the head drooping is to use chest and waist straps. These not only do nothing to improve the posture of the user but can be uncomfortable and degrading for the elderly user.
However, if the user has good sitting stability, they can use a pelvic belt to increase sturdiness. Once the pelvis is secured, the sitting position will be secured too. The ideal position of a pelvic belt is about 45-60 degrees from the seat surface.
The ergonomic headrest is generally used on hight back positioning wheelchairs. When the user is leaning back, the ergonomic headrest provides lateral support of the head. This design was specially designed by Karma Medical that can be adjusted up, down, left, and right and secured to the wheelchair using velcro.
For this group, it is important to find a position that is comfortable for the user, and with the addition of accessories, keep the user in that position.
The next blog in this series will explore how to help users who can’t walk or sit independently, prevent their head from dropping by assessing their seating arrangement to make it more comfortable and safe.