Michelle L. Lange, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP/SMS
In prior blogs, we addressed Dynamic Rocker Back interface maintenance and Dynamic Footrest maintenance. Today, we turn our attention to the Seating Dynamics Dynamic Head Support Hardware.
If a client moves with force in a static seat and wheelchair frame, the frame and mounting hardware take the force and can move out of alignment or even break. Dynamic Seating uses elastomers, springs, and/or hydraulics to absorb force, store energy, and return the client to a starting position. Instead of the wheelchair frame breaking, the dynamic component absorbs the energy, ultimately causing wear which, in turn, requires this component to be replaced.
The Dynamic Head Support Hardware contains elastomers meant to absorb and diffuse client force, protecting the client from injury and the equipment from loss of alignment and even damage. The elastomers can wear out, as these may be absorbing a great deal of force. The hardware should be checked at least once a year or more frequently depending on the amount and level of use. If the head support does not readily return to a starting position, the elastomers may need to be replaced. This can easily be determined by gently moving the headrest pad – if it moves at all without resistance, the elastomers should be replaced. There are no other areas of concern. A replacement kit is available.
For more information on maintenance, check out our quick class on this topic: https://www.seatingdynamics.com/2021/02/08/quick-class-dynamic-seating-maintenance/.
The elastomers can also be switched to change the level of resistance. The hardware comes standard with Blue (medium) elastomers to provide movement and to return the client to a starting position. If more resistance is needed, Green (firm) elastomers are provided with the unit. For more information on determining the optimal amount of resistance for the Dynamic Head Support Hardware, read a blog on this topic here or watch our Quick Class here.
Ensuring Dynamic Seating components are set-up with an optimal level of resistance and maintaining the equipment are essential to achieving optimal client outcomes. If you are working with clients using Dynamic Seating, check each component at least annually for needed maintenance. Educating the caregivers to check function frequently is a also good idea. Simply instruct caregivers to gently move the dynamic component – if it moves at all without resistance, the elastomers should be replaced.