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Are You Sitting Comfortably?

Child on AAT GB posture cushion

This is a guest blog for Disabled Living written by Peter Wingrave, Sales Director at AAT GB

Postural support: it’s one of the biggest headaches for carers and healthcare professionals, how to balance appropriate cushioning with health and wellbeing.

Treating pressure sores costs the NHS £1.3m/day(1). Before that stage is reached, how much time do carers- paid and unpaid- spend re-adjusting and turning their charge to prevent pressure, adjusting their position to ensure they are comfortable, stabilised and supported, plumping up cushions etc?

In many cases, just a change in thought process and choice of postural support would reduce or even eliminate the risk of a sore even beginning.

Health & Wellbeing

Health & wellbeing is not just pressure sores. It’s about sensory wellbeing, giving someone that feeling of safety and security without feeling restricted. It’s about physical wellbeing, supporting the body during a spasm, protecting during involuntary movement.

Health & wellbeing affects everyone involved: the person needing that postural support, and the person or people who look after them. Anyone involved in care is aware of the issues of moving and handling, so any system that helps reduces loading on them has got to be good too.

The benefits of the bean bag concept are widely accepted, as are the disadvantages: that the slightest movement changes the shape of the cushion leading to at best inadequate support or at worst the user ending up on the floor! A more solid stabilisation is needed.

Vacuum Posture Technology

Traditionally, Occupational Therapists are used to a rigid version, a fixed mould type system. However, the one inevitable in life is that our needs change with time- we grow, our condition deteriorates, or we develop other issues. These all impact on the size and shape of the mould. Changing that mould takes time and costs money.

What about an option developed in conjunction with Occupational Therapists, that enables you to perfectly, finitely adjust the shape of the cushion- whether a small arm support through to a bed? An option that can be used for sitting, lying, sleeping, bathing, swimming, travelling? An option that then holds that shape, firmly, but that you can easily adjust as needs change? An option that you can change at no cost, on the spot, instantly, and without having to organise specialists to attend?

Vaccuum technology addresses all those limitations. It works by simply positioning the user on the cushion and attaching a pump which sucks the air out from between the ‘beans’ so it forms firmly and evenly around the body area to be supported and stabilised. It forms without pressure points and holds that shape for weeks. It exactly mirrors the shape required and can be infinitely and minutely adjusted for optimum user comfort and support.

To create/maintain the shape, simply attach the pump and provide suction for a few moments. To create a new form, allow some air to re-enter via the valve, attach the pump, and turn on for the few minutes necessary until the required degree of firmness is achieved.

See how it works here: https://youtu.be/Apng8U5cYK0 and https://www.aatgb.com/posture-cushion-user-guide/

Any appropriately-trained carer can create the support as needed. In these COVID-different times, there is no need to arrange for a specialist appointment, and wait days, weeks, months for a new mould.

AAT GB posture cushion

Not Just a Posture Cushion

The structure also means the bag can be used as a sensory aid: pop an appropriate music player underneath, and the sound, beat and rhythm will transfer through the cushion.

The outer fabric is waterproof yet breathable. Thus the cushion can be quickly and easily wiped clean, disinfected and sterilised. It can be used in the bath or swimming pool.

Small, velcro-fixed versions mean a single limb can be stabilised during a period of therapy. Large versions replace bed mattresses and can be exactly formed to shape and support the trunk and limbs as needed, even allowing creation of abduction wedges. Cushions can be taken wherever the user needs them: one Stabilo user has taken part in a disabled sports challenge, using his cushion to stabilise him in a canoe! More typical usage is stabilisation in a car seat, a swing or a wheelchair.

To find out more about how AAT Stabilo vacuum posture cushions can support you and your charge in daily life, click here: https://www.aatgb.com/posture-cushions/, call 01978821875 or email sales@aatgb.com.

Reference(s):

(1)https://nhs.stopthepressure.co.uk

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