“Proper seating is very important for the patient population we serve,” says Occupational Therapist Diane Tait, who works at the Adult Wheelchair and Seating Clinic at the Regional Rehabilitation Centre. “A patient’s posture affects many aspects of their life, such as comfort, breathing, swallowing and the ability to engage with the world around them.”
The clinic specializes in customizing wheelchairs to meet the seating and mobility needs of people who have complex physical and neurological challenges.
Patients who are referred to the clinic have complex conditions that often require lifelong use of a wheelchair. Some of these conditions include spinal cord injuries, stroke, multiple sclerosis, ALS, acquired brain injuries or developmental delays.
Assessing patients and achieving goals
“Goals can range from healing skin damage caused by poor posture to being able to operate a manual chair without shoulder pain,” Diane explains. “Other goals include returning to work or learning how to do daily activities while using a wheelchair.”
“A patient’s posture affects many aspects of their life.”
The team works with wheelchair vendors to modify and customize the chairs for patients.
“When we first see patients, they are often uncomfortable or struggling with functional tasks while using their current chair,” says Diane. “The most gratifying part of my job is seeing patients leave with smiles on their faces because we have customized a chair that meets their needs.”
Supporting patients with Strides
Proceeds from Strides For The General enabled the purchase of a ceiling lift for one clinic room, and modified the existing lift in the other room.
“The ceiling lift allows us to smoothly transfer patients out of their chairs onto the assessment plinth, or onto the special chair we use for creating custom-molded seating and vice-versa,” says Diane.
With the addition of the second lift, the team is able to conduct custom moldings in both clinic rooms, thus increasing the number of patients they can see at a time.
“We are thankful to Strides For The General fundraisers. Their support helps us meet our patients’ needs in a more timely fashion and obtain the specialized wheelchairs and customized seating needed for carrying out daily activities.”