Having recently started work with Invacare as a Field Sales Consultant (with an emphasis on mobility and seating), here are some recent examples of successful adaptive equipment solutions our team has identified whilst working in the community.
The first case concerns a client who had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease, and who in association with deteriorating mobility was being prescribed a powered wheelchair. Given the fact that their hand function was also in decline, we were able to program the controls of the powered wheelchair by reducing the speed/acceleration/de-acceleration and allowing for tremor, to compensate for a marked lack of fine motor skills. These changes ultimately allowed them to operate the chair independently in a smooth and responsive manner.
Secondly, to further augment their independent operation of the chair, we were able to set up and program an additional large switch, which allowed them to utilise their remaining gross hand function to move between the mobility and seating functions (tilt/elevate) of the chair without needing to finger/thumb swipe the control unit screen – a requirement that was beyond their capabilities at that stage.
A further case relates to the provision of a self-propelling wheelchair for a client who had experienced a CVA (stroke) and a subsequent dense right-sided hemiparesis. This loss of movement on their right side meant that they were unable to manoeuvre the wheelchair through the usual bi-lateral upper limb function and were therefore rendered dependent on the assistance of a support worker for all their mobility needs.
Nevertheless, this problem was overcome through lowering the seat to floor height of the chair, a configuration that allowed the client to regain independent mobility through punting the chair with their unaffected left foot in conjunction with propelling the left wheel with their unaffected left side.
Geoff graduated from Exeter University, England in 1996 with a BSc Hons in Occupational Therapy. In the intervening period, he has worked as an occupational therapist in the UK, Australia and since 2006, New Zealand. The majority of this practice has been within the physical field and includes a number of years within the specific clinical setting of wheelchairs and seating.