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A HydroFlex for the Community Neurology Rehabilitation Team

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West Park Hospital, Wolverhampton

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A heart-warming case study

The CareFlex OT Show Competition Winner 2016 was Helen Cartwright, a senior OT with the Community Neurology Rehabilitation Team at West Park Hospital, Wolverhampton.  The team will issue the chair on loan to their priority patients.

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The service provides multi-disciplinary, multi-agency rehabilitation for people in the community who have long term neurological conditions.  The team provide training and education to clients and carers to support self-management in the community. They also give advice and support to clients and anyone involved in the care of people with a long term neurological conditions.

I was very privileged recently to be at the home of the first patient to receive the HydroFlex, a patient with Motor Neuron Disease.

This will not be a surprise to many Healthcare Professionals who prescribe seating in the community, working with clients on a day to day basis, but I would like to share this heart-warming story.  The power of getting someone seated in the correct seat cannot be underestimated.

I know a lot about seating, posture and pressure management, and I care a lot about how our products can help clients.   However, I am not a clinician and I have never seen, at first hand, the utter transformation that happened virtually from one minute to the next.   A lovely lady (Sylvia), who, only a year ago was still playing golf, now with MND, was sat in a riser/recline in a corner of their conservatory.  Hunched over and slouched to one side, she was not in a happy place.  The new chair was moved as close as possible to enable her husband and the OT to move her gently over to the HydroFlex.  The chair was tilted back (TiS) and Sylvia requested a small amount of back angle recline so her tummy was more comfortable.  And I promise, a few minutes later, a new person was sat before me with a smiling face and the hint of the lovely young women she would once have been.   It brought a tear to my eye – it was very moving.  Suddenly Sylvia could see what was happening in her own home, discuss the local canal system (location of our family holiday last year!) with me, make requests of people… regain control of her life, if not her body.  A new person.

Our Area Manager, Les Jones, showed her husband (Brian) how the tilt and back angle functions work and how to adjust the chair,
DSC_0099when necessary.  They pulled some stuffing out of the soft pillow headrest because it was just too big for her and not comfortable!

Appropriate seating makes a HUGE difference to people’s quality of life.  The chest can open up to facilitate breathing, the head is supported in a comfortable position so communication is improved because eye contact can be made, eating, drinking and digestion are facilitated, and, of course, there’s the simple pleasure of being able to sit comfortably in a supported position.

Bearing in mind the average time a person ‘sits’ every day is about 9.5 hours – sitting is an incredibly important pastime.   Appropriate seating may mean that people can get out of bed and re-join a sociable and fulfilling life with family and friends.   To say nothing of cost savings to the NHS, through the prevention of pressure ulcers and other conditions caused by poor posture. (That’s a whole ‘nuther’ subject).

We wish Helen and her Team at the West Park Hospital every success for the future and hope they will share more life-changing case studies with us as and when the HydroFlex moves to the next patient, although we hope that will not be for a very long time.

The chair did not look out of place with the stylish cream leather suite and no problem moving the chair from room to room.

Helen accepts delivery of the HydroFlex from Les on behalf of the Community Neurology Rehabilitation Team at West Park Hospital, Wolverhampton.

Susie Hall

Marketing Manager

CareFlex Specialist Seating

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