Disability aids and equipment
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Could a custom-made seating system be my only solution?

Katherine HaywardKatherine Hayward Member Posts: 74
So, my search for a pressure mapping clinic near me has paid off. I just need an appointment now. Have any of you ever had pressure mapping done? Hopefully this will be the end of me buying cushions that aren't suitable for me (I only know this with use.) Can pressure mapping help decide if you need custom made seating or not? I have tried so many off-the- shelf foam cushions, air cushions (Vicair vector) and currently have a 3 year old Jay3 fluid-foam cushion which is bottoming out. I haven't felt comfortable over time with any of these, and used them until they were worn out. I'm noticing they do nothing for my comfort or posture, and the pain I'm in because of them is getting me down, sometimes waking me at night as my muscles are so tight from having used them all day. it's the same with wheelchair backs. I've tried standard sling backs (I can't sit up with those) and then the Matrx (Invacare) and Jay 3 (Sunrise Medical) hard backs with foam inserts. I chose deep contour on those, hoping it'd help my comfort/ posture, but they haven't much- I'm sat a little straighter as I'm held up by the laterals on the side and my seatbelt, but after a few minutes I slump again and am really uncomfortable. I've had my Jay3 backrest for 3 years. The thing is, I know many wheelchair companies have either solid or more basic cushion backrests, because I'm seeing that on wheelchair order forms, but nothing convinces me that it'll be good enough and comfortable enough for me to use day in day out. I find the cushion-like backs comfortable at first as they're softer, but I sink into the cushion as they don't offer positioning support, whereas like I've said, solid backs are too hard to make me comfortable. A technician suggested a Recaro seat, but said they're expensive. They look comfortable and supportive (I've never tried one) but the technician also said he didn't think there'd be enough positioning support there for me. Is a Recaro seat worth a try? how many of you have custom seating in your wheelchair and find it better than anything else? I'm fed up of spending money on cushions and backs that in the end don't work for me. Thoughts? from what I've said, does a custom-made seating system (cushion and back) seem the way to go?I really don't know what to do about this.

Replies

  • Zec RichardsonZec Richardson Member Posts: 155 Pioneering
    I'm sorry you are having so many problems with your chair, I have been offered pressure mapping but at the moment I think I'm okay.
    Surely your local wheelchair service should be supplying the cushions and backs? I'm sure after pressure mapping a custom made seat is offered, I'm sure they custom make the Jay seats and a machine contours the foam to your mapping and then gel and foam inserts finish it.
    I have the J3 back and it has helped a lot with my posture.

    I hope it is sorted soon, there is nothing worse than a bad wheelchair seat.

    Zec
  • Katherine HaywardKatherine Hayward Member Posts: 74
    Hi Zec. Thanks for replying. There's nothing worse than a bad wheelchair seat and back, I agree. My whelchair service should, in theory, I agree. They told me they had no money and gave me a list of suppliers (most of which I already knew about) and said they didn't have the money to supply an electric wheelchair for me either and said I'd be best to fund it myself, but it's not easy to find the money because I don't work. I certainly feel they ought to be doing more to help.
  • Zec RichardsonZec Richardson Member Posts: 155 Pioneering
    Yes they should be, the service I go to supplied my J3 back and I started off with a Jay cushion but was having problems, so they supplied a different cushion that I used for about a year or more and then last year after more problems they supplied another J cushion.
    I have a custom made chair, its an RGK lightweight manual chair, its 5 years old and last year they offered to refurb it and it was paint stripped and resprayed (my choice of colour) and seat webbing and wheel bearings replaced.

    I think your service is obviously suffering cuts like all NHS services, but I think to cut costs they might be trying to persuade people to self purchase. Dig your heels in, tell them you can't afford to purchase a seat because of beingreliant on benefits. Also tell them you are worried because you can't afford it but your health is suffering because of poor seating.
    They have a duty of care and I think they will sort it for you!
    If not, you've lost nothing by trying, but be firm but polite :-)
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