Sunday, October 23, 2011

Seating Assessment Clinic for Wheelchair Users...

Mr A is, at the age of 20, in his third motorised wheelchair.

In each instance, he was assessed by, and had his seating designed and fitted by, therapists from our local CP support service.

This has had mixed results.

Firstly, actually getting an application happening has always been difficult. The rules here in Queensland are archaic, and revolve around availability of funding, rather than user need. The rule that the wheelchair should last the user 5 years, is ridiculous in the case of growing children and teenagers. Even in adult life, a persons needs can change dramatically over that period of time.

Most of the therapists employed by the service organisation here, are graduates as that is all that the budget will allow. They cut their teeth (figuratively speaking) on our children, then flit off to greener pastures. Or that, at least, has been our experience. And we have been with the same branch of the organisation concerned for 20 years, almost exactly.

This means, that not only are they unwilling to bend the rules due to their relative inexperience, but they also know little about the process of assessing a person with CP for a new seating unit, as their knowledge is limited to some prac whilst studying and a fair bit of theory.

Now while I appreciate that everyone has to start somewhere, why oh why, do they always have to start with US????

I think I've taught more physios about Mr A's needs than I would have liked over the course of his lifetime. In the end, I reckon I could have done better myself with a block of foam and an electric knife. In fact we're almost at that point now.

Mr A's current seating assembly is woefully inadequate in so many areas, I don't know where to start. And this is after three different therapists have had a turn at trying to make it right.

Previously, at least the service provider had a method by which the seating was tailor made according to need. Now, they simply try to jumble together something from pre exisiting cushions, backs, headrests and supports, and it's a bit of a hit and miss affair, let me tell you.

Poor Mr A tires easily in his chair and suffers pain and pressure points. This should simply not happen.

So now we're trying the Seating Assessment Clinic at the local large public hospital. Word on the ground is that they are the bees knees.

Let's hope.

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