Carol 45 Year Old
Carol is 45 years old and lives with her husband and her 2 teenage daughters in her own home. She works at home as a freelance graphic designer. She recently had worsening of symptoms of her primary progressive MS – originally diagnosed 5 years ago. She noticed new symptoms of reduced balance and strength affecting her ability to stand up from her armchair and resulted in a fall trying to get up.
She was reviewed by her OT who clinically reasoned that Carol would benefit from a lift chair to facilitate independence with transfers and to reduce risk of falls. The configura comfort vinyl chair was prescribed. Carol liked that she could use the handset easily to help her to stand. The medium tilt was used as she felt the standard tilt setting pushed her forward and she did not feel secure on her feet. She could easily set up her work station over the chair to work from during the day and when she was tired at the end of the day she would lift her legs and recline back to watch TV with her family.
Since her last review Carol had managed well with the configura comfort chair to accommodate her needs. However, she was noticing further weakness and fatigue severely impacting her posture. She shared that later in the days when she is more fatigued, she tended to slouch over to one side – unable to find the strength to keep her body upright any further. This would cause her aches and pains when she tried to get up and mobilise. She found the tilt in space function helped to stabilise her hips during times of fatigue. But when she had to sit upright to work, she was finding it harder to stay in a midline position. Her OT prescribed her the lateral support backrest which replaced the waterfall backrest and supported her on either side of her trunk to keep her sitting in an aligned position in the chair and to avoid a leaning posture.
At her next review it was evident that Carol continued to suffer from core weakness making it extremely difficult for her to maintain an upright position in her chair even with the lateral support backrest. The adjustable support backrest was trialled. The lateral supports were positioned at her pelvis and gave her a high level of postural correction, as they hug the body and helped Carol to sit in an aligned position. She did however find that due to weakness and fatigue she was spending most of her time in a reclined position with her legs elevated.
Carol was admitted to hospital and required a period of inpatient rehabilitation as she had a fall trying to transfer out of the chair. She had progressive weakness of her legs and arms and was not able to push up from the armrests to help her stand and maintain her balance during standing transfers. During her hospital admission she was sent home with a standing hoist and transfer belt. She was now unable to mobilise so was prescribed a power wheelchair with tilt in space to get around her home during the day. Her carers would transfer her into her configura comfort chair for the evening time for repositioning and as it was an easier chair for Carol to control and position herself into a comfortable position to rest. Thankfully, the chair was a compatible for use with all transfer aids.
Recently Carol has found she is unable to easily swallow her food and her diet has changed as a result. Carol has since lost weight and has nutritional needs. Furthermore, her reduced mobility, sensation and incontinence puts her at a high risk of developing pressure injuries. Her OT prescribed her an alternating air cushion for her wheelchair and her configura comfort chair to minimise the risk of her developing pressure areas from sitting down throughout the day.