Specialist seating and the new Smart Seat Pro II

Published: 19 June 2023
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Written by

Bianca Brady
Bachelor of Applied Science (Occupational Therapy)
Astris PME Clinical Education Coordinator

Mellinda Fitzgerald
Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPhty)
Astris PME Clinical Educator

Specialist seating aims to allow individuals, who might otherwise be unable to, achieve optimal sitting posture for health and wellbeing.

This seating can be built into a wheeled mobility frame, floor or hi-lo adjustable frames, hygiene and toileting systems and seating outside of these areas where the aim is to promote leisure, social engagement, relaxation, and rest.

Selecting a specialist seating system to meet complex postural needs should be based on meeting specific collaborative goals between the prescriber and user. This is often highlighted during the assessment process where a combination of seating options are considered and reviewed to enable participation and function throughout the day.

Lack of appropriate support in a seating system can result in pain, fatigue, not being able to make eye contact or not having arms and hands free for movement, reaching or self-expression. This impacts an individual’s opportunity and potential to participate in activity and engage with others. Limited sitting tolerance from a suboptimal set up can also lead to behaviours and postures that impede engagement and cause a further decline in postural asymmetries. All of which lead to poor health and wellbeing outcomes which ultimately impact a person’s quality of life.

Supporting seating and posture throughout the day, often requires more than one piece of assistive technology to optimise function, participation, and quality of life. When a wheeled mobility device with seating is not able to meet certain goals, using an alternative specialty seating system can be considered.

Some may already be familiar with the Smart Seat Pro (SSP), a specialist seating system available in a small size to suit complex postural support needs for the paediatric population and smaller framed adult clients. Recently released, the Smart Seat Pro II (SSPII) is a larger (medium) sized chair which meets the needs of adults or users of the SSP who have outgrown it. The SSPII continues to offer all the features and adjustability of the SSP with some key upgrades to make the chair more user friendly and promote easier adjustability. These include:

  • New tilt inclinometer and visual indicator for recline angle
  • Increased ground clearance to allow easier access for transfer aids
  • Flip up, angle adjustable footplate which self-retracts when the chair is brought out of tilt
  • More range in the leg support to accommodate a greater range of knee angles
  • Upgraded mechanism to make removing and replacing the arm supports more user friendly
  • Upgraded mechanism for the multi adjustable segments for head and thoracis support that are tool free
  • New sections of modifiable filling to customise support & integral seat depth and width adjustment
  • New options to provide additional positioning supports such as additional ergonomic shaped lateral thoracic supports

Deciding who the SSPII will be of most benefit to, and to help with clinical reasoning, let’s take a closer look at how the SSPII can support complex postural needs.

An alternate seating system should still promote best sitting posture.

The range of configurations to either accommodate or correct postural asymmetries allows the SSPII to meet the needs of a large population group, including individuals with cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, muscular dystrophy and motor neuron disease to name a few. Within the levels of supported seating, mild, moderate or complex, the SSPII has been engineered to suit needs at a complex level. 

A specialised seating system, such as the SSPII, aims to optimise posture, comfort and function by addressing the fundamental seating objectives. These are sitting tolerance (comfort), postural support, promoting function and pressure injury prevention and management. The SSPII achieves all this by allowing a customised set up as the sections of the chair directly correlate to the body segments that need to be supported for postural control and stability. Using the tilt function with the built in CareFlex WaterCell Technology®, the seat can also provide adequate care for individuals who are at medium to high risk of pressure injuries. The addition of modifiable sections and inclusion of secondary lateral supports further provide options to customise the level of support needed to achieve the objectives.

Providing justification in relation to cost effectiveness should always include the longevity of high-quality equipment. The SSPII is a robust chair that can withstand high loads and comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame.

Focusing on a discussion of the effectiveness of the features, great and small, and how these meet the needs of the user, their supports, and their environment will easily justify the recommendation of the use of the SSPII.  Don’t forget to compare this with the foreseeable implications/complications of not implementing a specialist seating system (and the costs associated with this) as this will further support your recommendation for supply of the SSPII.

The Smart Seat Pro II is now an option that offers a modular system that is highly adjustable to meet the needs of individuals who require both complex postural support and pressure injury prevention and management. For access to guides on assessment, products, and clinical justification, visit the Astris PME website to access their free downloads HERE.

For more information on the Smart Seat Pro II or any of the CareFlex range, contact Astris PME on 1300 131 884.

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