Sitting can be a permanent strain on the body. The ever-constant fight against gravity can cause many negative impacts if not accommodated correctly. Whilst non-disabled people have the benefit of being able to stand, stretch and walk around to repair the temporary damage done by bad posture, for people living with a spinal cord injury, this is not an option.
This is why it is imperative to ensure that people with physical impairments are seated in products that protect, and if possible, improve their condition.
Mercado Medic manufacture bespoke modular wheelchairs that are both powered and manual. Toby Laughlin, a company representative, has broken down what modular wheelchairs are and how they can help people with a spinal cord injury enjoy greater amounts of independence in the home, school or workplace.
What are bespoke modular wheelchairs?
Bespoke modular wheelchairs are all about building a chair that meets the exact needs of the person using it, allows them to do the tasks they otherwise may struggle with, and helps them adapt to living with a spinal cord injury.
When it comes to physical disabilities, mass-produced standard seating can often worsen conditions through added impairments such as posterior tilt, obliquity and pelvic rotation.
Mercado Medic builds its wheelchairs on a modular system, which can be described as the wheelchair-building equivalent of Lego. Every element of the wheelchairs can be changed and customised, meaning hundreds of thousands of combinations are available to ensure that the chair is exactly right for the user.
Moreover, if a user has a third-party seat or backrest that they know works for them already, for example, V-Trak, Versa, Roho, and other custom-made moulds, these can be implemented into the modular system. Ultimately, the modular design provides a holistic solution to each part of the user's specific needs.
What are the benefits of a modular wheelchair?
Although making a comfortable chair that aids postural management is ideal, the benefits of the modular system go far beyond just accommodating a person.
The paramount for people with a spinal cord injury is independence. What independence means to someone depends on their condition and what they can achieve within the limits of their ability.
No matter the goal, modular wheelchairs can help them achieve this without paying for the things they don’t need. When purchasing a wheelchair, it is always important to consider what your needs will be a few years down the line, in addition to at the moment of purchase.
With chairs that have a modular system, like the Mercado Medic seating range, the chair can be adapted, meaning there is no need to repurchase a whole chair.
What can a bespoke modular wheelchair do to aid independence?
This depends firstly on where it will be used.
Listed below, using the Mercado Medic REAL 6100 Plus as an example, are many ways that modular seating can enhance independence in the three primary indoor environments of home, school and work.
- Safety brake to make sure the chair is stopped dead whilst performing an action.
- Electric seat riser to access different workstations and counters.
- Easy rolling castors and non-marking drive wheels make indoor driving slick and subtle.
- Ergonomic pressure relieving seat and backrest made to measure for bespoke comfort.
- Easy to change the chair if the condition changes.
- Compact frame, allowing for use in tight spaces and bathrooms.
- Retractable arms allow for an easy transfer.
In the home
People use Mercado Medic chairs at home for a multitude of things; examples include cooking, cleaning, eating, working from home, getting dressed, safely transferring to the toilet, gaming and much more.
Comments from customers usually describe how much peace of mind it gives them, as on good days, it can aid them in doing tasks independently, and on worse days, it can keep them safe, prevent falling and keep them comfortable.
Mercado Medic chairs are often used in schools, as they are inclusive of all students, no matter their conditions. The rise and tilt functions mean physically impaired students can reach higher worktops such as science desks.
It also means that they can be at eye level with fellow students and have conversations without the neck strain of constantly having to look up.
If the student is still growing, the chair can be adapted as necessary simply by installing a bigger seat and backrest, as well as any extras they may need as they get older (such as headrests, trunk supports and footplates).
In the workplace
Mercado Medic has provided instances where people have been able to return to work after an SCI, as they can now fully access the building's facilities and navigate around more extensive complexes.
With the postural supportive seating, users can be seated for extended periods without discomfort or pain. The tilt function can aid this, as users can re-adjust their pressure points marginally throughout the day.
Getting people back to work in Mercado Medic chairs has been such a success that it is now funded by the Access to Work scheme.
To find out more about Mercado Medic seating or to book a free assessment in the environment it will be used in, visit our website at - https://www.mercado-medic.co.uk/ - or email Toby directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.