Michelle L. Lange, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Phillip is a 61 year old man who resides at the Mary Campbell Center in Wilmington, DE. We featured Phillip in a blog in October of 2017. I had the opportunity to work with Phillip in May of 2017 and recommended Dynamic Seating components at the knees, back, and head. I wanted to catch up with his physical therapist, Diana Hoopes, to see how he is doing. Diana graduated in 1975 from the University of Baltimore and later received her master’s degree in Special Education. Diana is retiring soon to spend time with her 11 grandchildren! She has worked at the Mary Campbell Center for many years and loves what she does.
When I first met Phillip, he rocked frequently, and this had led to breakage in numerous areas of the wheelchair frame. Repeated banging of his head against the head pad had led to a bald spot on his occiput. He would literally ‘bounce’ the wheelchair across the room with his strong movements!
Diana, how is Phillip doing now that he has his new Dynamic Seating components?
Diana has observed that Phillip moves more readily and enjoys this movement. Despite being able to move, the wheelchair is no longer bouncing across the room, as forces are absorbed by the Dynamic components. He is happy and everyone else is happy that the wheelchair seating and base have experienced no further damage. In the past, the staff had to “tighten or replace lost screws every other day.” The staff do lock out the Dynamic Rocker Back interface (DRBi) for transport, which Phillip doesn’t like. As soon as this is unlocked again, he is on the move! One other change – Phillip no longer has a bald spot on the back of his head from banging against a static headpad after receiving his Dynamic Head Support Hardware!
The elastomers in the DRBi have needed to be replaced due to wear and tear. These typically require replacement about once a year.
Diana, do you work with other clients who are using Dynamic Seating?
Diana works with a number of clients who use various Dynamic Seating components, mostly clients who have significant extensor tone. She has noticed less equipment breakage and less overall extension in clients when using Dynamic Seating. The biggest benefit she has noted is that the clients return to a neutral starting position after activating the Dynamic component. “Many of these clients have expensive cushions but are not sitting where they should as they lose their position during extension.” Before this dynamic intervention, these clients would lose their position, particularly at the pelvis. This impacted trunk and head position, vision and overall function. As a result, the clients using Dynamic Seating do not require frequent repositioning like they used to.
Diana also works with several clients who use Dynamic Seating on a power wheelchair with good results.
Overall, she has found the Seating Dynamics components to be very durable which has reduced the amount of maintenance and adjustments required. As these components last longer and prevent equipment damage, there is an overall cost savings.
How are clients responding? Caregivers? Other staff?
The clients using Dynamic Seating are more comfortable and happier. Caregivers are also happy with the results. The caregivers are glad that equipment damage is reduced, less maintenance and adjustments are required, and the client is remaining in position.
We wish Diana the very best in retirement and thank her for her many years of serving clients well!