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Supplier Interview: Andy Foster, OTR, ATP, CRTS

Supplier Interview: Andy Foster, OTR, ATP, CRTS

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

Andy Foster, OTR, ATP, CRTS

Andy has been in the Seating and Mobility field for about 25 years. Growing up in Jackson, WY as a pastor’s kid, he helped out with the Special Olympics. He eventually even modified a sled ski! This led him to pursue Occupational Therapy at Texas Women’s University, after which he worked at inpatient rehab with people who had spinal cord injuries. Andy found that he enjoyed the wheelchair training, management, and even maintenance, leading to a career change to Quantum Rehab. After a few years at Quantum, Andy began work at Medical Mobility which was later bought by United Seating and Mobility and, eventually, Numotion. He now works for Numotion in the Nashville, TN area. Andy is also a member of the Clinician Task Force (CTF).

As an Occupational Therapist working as a complex rehab supplier, Andy can see the functional perspective, understands client limitations, and the family perspective. He also enjoys educating the client and family on anything from transfers to respite services.

Andy, how did you get started in using Dynamic Seating?

Wayne Hanson has been a mentor to Andy since his childhood. Andy has attended 8 or 9 mission trips with Wayne’s program ROC Wheels, which provides mobility devices in a number of countries. He learned a lot about Dynamic Seating from Wayne, the creator of the Kids Rock dynamic wheelchair (no longer available).

What are your main clinical goals when recommending Dynamic Seating?

Andy began by using the Kids Rock dynamic wheelchair with younger pediatric active movers. He now turns to Dynamic Seating to diffuse forces with clients who have very high muscle tone and who are at risk for, or already experienced, equipment breakage and injury. Many of these clients have developmental delays.

Andy has worked with a client who sustained an injury, at the least a concussion, from hitting a static head  support with significant force. He has worked with several clients with cerebral palsy, which is not a progressive condition, who have worsened and lost skills over time. He questions if this could be due to repeated force, impacting the brain. (See a related blog on this subject).

What other clinical benefits have you noted with clients using Dynamic Seating?

Andy has noticed that clients with Dynamic Seating, over time, appear to no longer be using it. This is an observation I have heard from many other clinicians and suppliers. Once the client knows that the component(s) will move, they no longer appear “obligated” to extend against the seating system. If, however, someone locks out the Dynamic Back, for example, the client will begin to extend against this non-yielding surface. I believe that these clients are, in fact, moving the dynamic component, though slightly. As long as movement is available, extension and force remain reduced.

How would you like to be stuck in one position all the time? If you have a few things you can move, why not? – Chris Dale

Andy has also noticed that clients using Dynamic Seating maintain their posture better within the seating system and tolerate sitting for longer periods of time. The equipment is also lasting longer and not requiring replacement as frequently. “Dynamic Seating extends the life of the chair.”

What do you think needs improvement in Dynamic Seating products?

Andy would like more adjustment in the pivot point height of the Dynamic Rocker Back interface. He would sometimes like the pivot to be at the top of the PSIS, rather than at the hip joint. He would also like to be able to readily swap out the Dynamic Head Support Hardware with another head support. Some of the clients he works with use more than one head support. Finally, he would like to see an easier interface to place a Dynamic Rocker Back interface on power wheelchairs that do not use back canes, such as the Permobil Corpus or some of the Quantum Rehab backs. Great ideas, Andy!

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