Specialist seating can and does have a tangible, significant benefit on the lives of thousands across the country. To start with, we need to make a definition: what defines good seating and posture?
Simply put, we can break this definition down into three areas. Firstly, good posture helps a person to functionally perform in life and in a task. It also makes them more energy-efficient and lastly allows for seating for extended periods of time without contributing to bodily harm.
While it may seem easier to think of how good seating posture should be conducted in the average person, the truth is that there is a significant amount of variance in how people’s bodies are created and in how they develop and change over time. An example of this is body asymmetry, which can be determined genetically or can be created or exacerbated by actions accrued over time, such as spinal issues caused by years of sitting with a wallet in one of your rear pockets.
Specialist seating, then, looks to do a full audit of a person in order to narrow down every variable that needs to be considered in seating that allows them to have good posture.
To give a person a seating solution that truly helps them and addresses their physiology, it’s as important we look at pressure as it is just posture. If this subject is avoided, discomfort is quickly experienced and more serious health issues can quickly follow, such as acute pain and the development of ‘pressure ulcers’, which are localised injuries experienced on the skin or underlying tissue. These are usually experienced around bony areas of the body; a key consideration in the design of a specialist seating solution.
And these kinds of injuries aren’t even slow to develop. Studies and personal accounts have long shown medical professionals in this field that pressure ulcers can develop in as little as one to six hours of what is known as ‘sustained loading’ on small areas of the body when seated.
Beyond postural and comfort issues caused by birth or poor posture in life, there are many questions to ask. Appraising a person for specialist seating is a genuinely expert field, requiring a holistic and comprehensive approach that helps the designer to understand the individual and the way they expect to use their seating intimately.
To start with, it’s vital that it’s agreed and understood how mobile the individual is – and if they are able to transfer themselves to and from their seating without assistance. For many individuals who are differently-abled, even sitting in their seat without some form of support can be challenging or impossible to accomplish, necessitating specialist seating designed to give them as much freedom and comfort as possible in that regard.
It’s also common for seating needs to vary in terms of time and frequency of use. Despite what you might think at first, many children and adults require specialist seating for brief periods of time that are nevertheless critical to their lives, career or general quality of life. In contrast, there are many who require their specialist seating to be practical, safe and functional to use for significant periods of time – the majority of their waking hours, in many cases.
Many questions and more
These are but a few of the considerations providers like felgains work through with their clients when creating specialist seating. We hope you’ve found this article interesting and informative on the subject of this service.
While exhaustive to work through and complete, specialist seating undeniably helps children and adults worldwide live a life with dignity, comfort and safety.