ANNA WAUGH, MANAGING DIRECTOR, SIMPLE STUFF WORKS
There is often a perception that as people grow older and become less mobile, or develop conditions such as MS and Dementia, their body shape will change. As an individual loses mobility their body becomes vulnerable to adopting damaging positions which can cause their body to change shape over time leading to secondary complications. Simple changes such as hip and knee contractures have a devastating impact on a person’s ability to stay mobile, to adopt different postures and to sit and lie comfortably. However, these changes are avoidable and can be prevented with the right therapeutic interventions.
An individual’s mobility is a key indicator of risk. If the person uses a wheelchair, or requires hoisting, the risk they face is high. The challenge we face is the acceptance that the resulting complications are inevitable. The way we approach this issue is to offer training to key staff members such as Lorna Peake. Lorna attended a Simple Stuff Works train the trainer course and this provided her with the awareness and knowledge to pass her training onto her staff to help them understand the importance of postural care.
“One of our residents at Lily Marriot House, Anthony, has Cerebral Palsy and severe body shape changes and I knew immediately that he would benefit from the use of a Positioning System. Anthony has been using the system for six months, he now sleeps on his back which is much better for him and he appears to be far more comfortable” commented Lorna
Training is vital because you can have different support workers working with the same person and they will often have their own way of undertaking certain tasks, limiting continuity. Consistent training, such as the accredited online elearning package developed by Simple Stuff Works, is key to standardising the approach and knowledge within care teams.
It is essential to work with people who know the individual really well and to make sure that the positioning strategy is gentle, safe and humane. Wherever possible families should be involved and their valuable knowledge recognised. Staff need to be able to put together a thorough safety plan which addresses potential risks. Success comes about when we combine the expertise in the use of the equipment, the therapist’s extensive knowledge of biomechanics and the compassion and dedication of care home staff who know the person,
How has night time positioning evolved:
Before the 1990s many people intuitively applied common sense and did the best they could to stop contractures by using pillows and teddies, but it is only in the last 30 years or so that positioning equipment has started to be readily available, sensitively designed, and more widely used. We need postural care to be everybody’s business. We need residential care home managers and staff to understand it and embed it within their practice so if one person moves on the team can continue to provide effective care.
Preventing body shape distortion makes a huge difference to every aspect of a person’s life. They will be more comfortable and caring for them will be easier and more dignified. Postural care is a fundamental care need which has to be embraced by anyone supporting an individual with movement difficulties.
For more information on the full range of postural positioning solutions and training available from Simple Stuff Works call 01827 307 870, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.simplestuffworks.co.uk