Pros and Cons of Integrated Dynamic Seating Systems

Michelle L. Lange, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP/SMS

One of our past blogs, posted September 14th of 2016, explained the difference between Integrated and Modular Dynamic Seating.

When boiled down to the basics, the difference between the two options is:

  • Integrated systems come as a unit – the dynamic components are a part of a dedicated wheelchair.
  • Modular components can be retrofitted to an existing wheelchair and can be used at just one body site (such as the knees) or combined with other components to provide movement at more than one body site.

The Advantages of an Integrated Dynamic Seating System

So what are the advantages of choosing an Integrated dynamic seating system?

As the system is designed from the ground up for movement, the dynamic components are designed to move in unison in an effort to capture movement that may occur throughout the body. This is a very important consideration. Each client will display a unique pattern of movement, but the movement is inter-related. Clients who exhibit an extensor thrust pattern can easily activate dynamic components simultaneously at the hips, knees, and head.

The Dynamic movement may also be more complex. For example, instead of the seat to back angle simply increasing (as with many modular components), the posterior seat surface may also rise – increasing the likelihood of the pelvis returning to a neutral starting position.

Funding may also be easier as the mobility base (typically an adaptive stroller or dependent manual wheelchair) includes what is needed. With Modular components, funding must be obtained separately for the mobility base as well as each modular dynamic component.

What are Disadvantages to Integrated Dynamic Seating Systems?   

Some disadvantages of Integrated Systems include:

  • If the client only requires movement in one area, modular options make more sense
  • If the client already has a mobility base, this has to be replaced with an Integrated base
  • Funding may be more difficult if the client already has an existing mobility base
  • Many integrated systems offer less growth and adjustability than standard mobility bases
  • Some integrated systems are not as durable as modular components

Watch for our next blog when we will discuss Modular Dynamic Seating advantages and disadvantages!

AktivLine Integrated Dynamic System, made in Germany. Used with permission, courtesy of Leander and Milena Zahumensky. 

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