Tilt in space wheelchairs have revolutionised mobility and comfort for individuals with various physical disabilities and medical conditions. These innovative mobility aids offer a range of advantages that enhance the quality of life for users.
In this article, we explore the benefits of tilt in space wheelchairs, their impact on users’ daily lives, and the considerations involved in selecting the right one.
What Is A Tilt In Space Wheelchair?
A tilt-in-space wheelchair is a specialised type of wheelchair designed to provide enhanced comfort, postural support, and pressure management for individuals with mobility challenges or specific medical conditions.
Unlike standard wheelchairs, where the seat and backrest move together in a fixed manner, a tilt-in-space wheelchair allows the entire chair, including the seat and backrest, to tilt as one unit while maintaining the angles of the hips, knees, and ankles.
What Are The Benefits Of A Tilt In Space Wheelchair?
The defining feature of these wheelchairs is the ability to tilt the entire seating system backward, usually controlled by a power mechanism or manual adjustment. This offers a wide range of benefits, including:
Enhanced Postural Support
One of the primary advantages of tilt in space wheelchairs is their ability to provide superior postural support. These chairs allow users to recline while maintaining the alignment of their hips, knees, and ankles.
This helps defy the adverse effects of gravity, which can lead to poor posture and discomfort. By tilting back, users can maintain a midline postural position, preventing postural deviation and related issues.
Pressure Injury Prevention
Tilt in space wheelchairs are invaluable for individuals at risk of pressure injuries, also known as pressure ulcers or bedsores. Prolonged sitting in a fixed position can lead to pressure on bony prominences, reducing blood flow and oxygen levels in cells, which can result in tissue damage.
Tilt in space chairs help redistribute pressure away from these vulnerable areas, such as the sacrum and ITs (Ischial Tuberosities). Regularly offloading pressure, recommended every 1-2 hours, reduces the risk of pressure injuries significantly.
Improved Comfort and Function
For individuals with reduced head and trunk control or limited muscle strength due to disabilities, tilt in space wheelchairs can be a game-changer. By maintaining proper alignment of the spine, head, and thoracic region, these chairs improve overall comfort and positioning. Users can experience enhanced functionality and participate more actively in daily activities.
Reduced Risk of Falls
Tilting a wheelchair changes the user’s center of gravity, contributing to better positioning and reducing the risk of falls. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, which can lead to agitation and increased fall risk when seated upright. Tilt in space wheelchairs can help mitigate these risks, providing a safer and more stable seating option.
Support for Corrective Positioning
Individuals with conditions like kyphosis, which results in a hunched or forward-leaning posture, can benefit significantly from tilt in space wheelchairs. By tilting back, these chairs offer support to the head, neck, and shoulders, improving visual field and social interaction. This can lead to better communication, inclusion, and overall functioning for users.
Enhanced Physiological Processes
Maintaining an upright posture in a tilt in space wheelchair has notable benefits for various physiological processes. Proper posture aids in better breathing, reducing the risk of respiratory infections. Additionally, it improves functions like swallowing, digestion, and elimination, contributing to overall well-being.
Ease of Repositioning
Individuals at risk of pressure injuries often require frequent repositioning, typically every 2 hours. Tilt in space chairs simplify this task for both caregivers and users. The power tilt feature, often controlled by a button, allows for swift and controlled repositioning, reducing the burden on caregivers and ensuring the user’s comfort.
Tilt in space wheelchairs are a vital tool for individuals with mobility challenges, offering a range of benefits from enhanced postural support and pressure injury prevention to improved comfort, reduced fall risk, and support for corrective positioning.
Understanding the advantages of tilt in space wheelchairs can empower users and caregivers to make informed decisions, ultimately improving the quality of life for those who rely on these innovative mobility aids.