July 13, 2016 | 8:00 am | By Pants Up Easy
As an occupational therapist, there are a variety of ways in which you help your patients, all with the aim of helping them lead a more functional and meaningful life in spite of circumstances that work against them. Among the services you provide, one of the most valuable is finding devices and recommending changes to their environment to assist in their daily routines. As much of your clientele may be wheelchair bound, let’s look at some wheelchair assistance products that will further your efforts, and make things easier for your patients.
Sitting in a wheelchair for most of one’s waking hours is not only uncomfortable, it also can lead to an unpleasant symptom known as pressure sores, which are sometimes also called pressure ulcers or bed sores. These wounds involve damage to the skin and sometimes underlying tissue due to constant pressure or friction on that area. In addition to making the hours in the wheelchair more comfortable, specially designed cushions help reduce the pressure and friction that causes the sores. You can also find cushions that absorb moisture or heat, and others which help in maintaining healthy posture while in the chair.
Modern advances in consumer safety legislation have made wheelchairs much safer than they used to be. However, it is still possible for a wheelchair to go off-balance, and this puts the patient at risk of having the chair tip over. Needless to say, this is a potentially dangerous situation. Anti-tippers (no, we’re not talking about those folks that don’t believe you need to tip the waitstaff in a restaurant) provide additional stability to prevent just such a mishap, and are definitely one of the wheelchair assistance products you should consider.
While it’s not easy to sit in a wheelchair all day, moving in and out of the chair is likely to be even more difficult, or perhaps impossible for a paraplegic. Keep in mind that this will be necessary several times a day, as the patient needs to use the bathroom, shower, or move in and out of bed. There are a number of devices which help in this process. The most common is the transfer board. These boards are produced in a variety of materials, shapes, and sizes, but all are designed to support the patient’s weight and making transferring to and from the wheelchair much easier and safer.
Lifting oneself is one of the great challenges for people suffering from paralysis. Even for those for whom this is possible (patients who still have the use of their arms and upper torso), the effort to lift is strenuous and taxing, and sometimes leads to arm and shoulder injuries. Even the occupational therapist or caregiver is at risk of pulled muscles and similar injuries. There are a variety of lifting devices that help in various functions, including our own Pants Up Easy product, which was specifically designed to assist paraplegics to lift themselves so they can dress more easily and independently.