24 HOUR POSTURE SUPPORT & SEATING SERVICES
Posture Support devices and Wheelchairs have long been viewed as medical or transport equipment. Often you hear that someone is “bound” to a wheelchair when in fact, appropriate wheelchairs are tools for greater freedom and inclusion! This is very true for children whose bodies need posture support as they grow to ensure optimal health and inclusion.
Read more about the 8 steps established by the World Health Organisation for wheelchair provision here.
What is an “appropriate” wheelchair?
WHO states that a wheelchair is appropriate when:
It meets the user’s needs and environmental conditions; provides proper fit and postural support; is safe and durable; is available in the country; and can be obtained, maintained and serviced in the country at an affordable cost.
It prevents dangerous secondary complications (like aspiration and pressure sores) and is an important tool enabling inclusion.
Wheelchairs should always be supported by wheelchair services including assessment, prescription, specialized seating, follow up and repair as well as training for users, carers and family.
Without these services, wheelchairs can cause more harm than good and are often abandoned.
What is 24 hour positioning?
Have you ever been on a long haul flight or car ride, with very little space to move or stretch?
None of us are geared to spend all day in the same position. 24 hour positioning is the practice of using special positioning equipment or even everyday objects (like pillows, blankets, tables) to place someone with an impairment in different positions.
24 hour positioning ensures that good postures are maintained when spending time out of a wheelchair to rest or take part in activities.
Watch How we design our products to meet the needs of children in South Africa!
Contact us today to make an appointment, or for a referral to your nearest seating practitioner.
POSTURE SUPPORT & MOBILITY DEVICES
Our unique range of posture support and mobility devices are designed for use in rugged terrain, able to be locally repaired, and provide the best support to promote health, inclusion, and well-being. To find out more click the link below or view our product brochure here.
When a young child shows signs of struggling to sit up or move about like his peers, don’t delay, hoping things will improve. Have your child assessed ASAP by a child specialist or therapist. They will direct you to seek early intervention so your child can begin to explore and develop his abilities.
Why is assessment so important?
It may seem simple enough to buy a secondhand wheelchair, or use a baby stroller for your child, but this can spell trouble as using the wrong device for long periods of time can lead to serious health issues like pressure sores and deformities. A trained seating practitioner can assess your child and help to find the perfect device.
If you live outside of South Africa or far from a trained seating practitioner, we can provide support to help your local therapist, community rehab worker or clinic staff carry out the assessment remotely.
Contact us to book an assessment or talk to our team for advice.
FITTING & CUSTOMISATION
Once a wheelchair is delivered, it is set up for each user by a trained practitioner to see that he/she is well supported, comfortable, feeling safe and able to function in the device.
Fitting and customisation ensure that the fitted device and cushion meets the needs identified in the assessment.
The following checks are done:
- size and adjustments
- posture and alignment
- pressure areas
- fit while the wheelchair user is moving
- NOTE: No wheelchair should be provided without an appropriate cushion!
Why is fitting so important?
Some children need extra support to sit upright. They may have uncontrolled movements like spasms, joint stiffness, muscle tightness, weakness or fatigue, pain, discomfort or difficulty balancing. All these influence the fitting process. An ill-fitting device (including cushion) is damaging to the child’s body and may cause serious harm.
Why are customisations sometimes necessary?
Some children need extra support in a wheelchair. Some customisations are simple, and can be done during the fitting e.g. adding foam inserts or extra strapping, or adding a block to raise the footrest. Others may take longer and involve the construction of special supports. A technician is often involved during the fitting to make these changes with the seating practitioner.
What happens after a fitting?
Fitting is checked at 3-4 monthly reviews when the therapist checks in with you to see how you are doing with your device. Further modification can be made as needed. A seating practitioner may recommend an additional positioning device, top-up carer training or further referral for support or services.
These reviews are important for children and young adults whose bodies are growing and changing.
Contact us to book an assessment or talk to our team for advice.
TECHNICAL SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE
Just as with bicycles and cars, looking after a posture support or mobility device increases its lifespan, minimises the effect of wear and tear, and provides safety and comfort to the user.
A regular routine of care is taught to help keep the device in peak condition.
In addition to daily care, it is important that all devices are checked by a wheelchair technician when attending a review every few months. Our skilled wheelchair technicians may solve wheelchair problems on site during a visit in your area (mobile outreach clinics) or bring your device back at the factory if absolutely needed. The seating practitioner and technician will advise when a device or cushion needs replacement.
COMMUNITY BASED OUTREACH SEATING
Community Based Outreach Seating services (CBOS) are run by seating practitioners and a wheelchair technician hosted at a community-based site e.g. clinics, schools or care centres.
CBOS reduces the costs, time and difficulty of transporting users with severe disabilities to far away services and offers opportunities for caregivers and staff to be mentored in wheelchair-related skills.
Responsibilities are shared between the SSE and the local hosts (clinics, schools, care-centres, community based organisations/ NGOs) e.g. arranging clients, venue and transport, staffing documentation, and device ordering. An outreach clinic can last from a few hours to a full day, depending on the needs in the community: our team can see about 15 clients per day (depending on complexity of needs)
Want to organise Community Based Outreach Seating service for your community? Get in touch with us!
Services offered during clinics:
- Assessment of user and environment
- Selection and ordering of device
- Fitting and customization of device
- Review of user and device (check of user and device)
- Basic maintenance of device
- Training of user/caregiver in basic positioning and handling, mobility and care when using device
- Mentoring of local therapists in seating process and of technician in basic wheelchair maintenance (e.g. general handyman or hospital technician)
- Practical moving and handling skills of people with disabilities
- Awareness raising and training of staff /family/carers in 24-hour positioning/use of devices/basic positioning /benefits of appropriate seating
- Referral to educational, social, health government or private services
REPAIR AND REFURBISH SERVICES
If your device (any brand) is faulty, or you would like to donate an old device to the Blue Line Project, contact our Repair and Refurbishment Department.
We offer affordable repair services at our factory in Ottery, Cape Town, and will arrange the pick up of donated devices from anywhere in South Africa.
Our dedicated Repair & Refurbish Department gives pre-loved devices a second life, available at a reduced price, to be re-issued by a trained seating practitioner. In cases where a wheelchair cannot be repaired, we may disassemble it and re-use parts in custom projects or repairs.
Visit our Tech Support page to learn more about device maintenance.
Blue Line (second life) Projects
Millions of children in South Africa are on long waiting lists for a device. Our Blue Line Project is focused on identifying abandoned or second hand Shonaquip devices and giving them a great second, third or even a fourth lease on life. Where necessary, we disassemble, strip and recoat these devices in Shonaquip blue. Because our products are built to last, this ensures that the devices go back into the community as fully refurbished, cost effective and guaranteed blue line products.
We can only run this blue line project with your help. Together with our partners, DSV Global Transport and Logistics, we would like to find all those outgrown, abandoned or damaged devices. Through the project, we can ensure that children who have no access to a wheelchair or a buggy get the chance to sit up and be included!
Based on the condition of the donated device, we may be able to offer value credit to spend on spares, or a new Shonaquip device. Every buggy or wheelchair saved from the scrapheap provides another child with a safe way to be included in the community.
Please contact us should you have any second hand devices you wish to donate to our Blue Line project.
We offer remote and in-person training workshops in 24-hour positioning and seating. Enquire about our CPD-accredited training opportunities. Learn more. We also offer advice and support to Community Service and full time Therapists.
Contact us for more information.