An assessment for specialised or custom-made seating involves the input of a multidisciplinary team, including the parents or carers of the client. An understanding of the client’s physical, social and environmental needs will have to be determined in order to ensure appropriate equipment is prescribed. A physical assessment is carried out to establish the client’s ideal seated posture.
Then the client is measured and assessed by the Consolor Seating Specialist for made to measure modular seating, or appropriate equipment is set-up and tried, or for custom-made seating – a mould of the client is taken…
The Moulding Process
This is the crucial stage in the prescription of a custom contoured seating system. It is down to the skills and ability of the seating specialist who is carrying out the moulding, as to how close the seat will be to the ideal seated posture.
The client is sat onto a polystyrene bead bag, which is itself placed onto an adjustable wheelchair. The wheelchair’s backrest and seat are positioned at appropriate angles for the individual’s intended seating position.
The bead bag is attached to a vacuum pump, it is then formed, by the seating specialist, around the client’s body. A negative impression of the client’s anatomy is the resultant shape in the bead bag. In essence the bead bag acts as a temporary seat.
We can use pressure mapping to assist with seating evaluations, to ensure that high risk areas are identified, monitored and that the seating surface is shaped appropriately. Pressures are off loaded from, at risk, bony prominences and forces are redistributed to low risk areas.
When the ideal seated position has been achieved, the client is removed from the bead bag. The bag holds its shape because the air has been removed from it by the vacuum pump.
The vacuum bag is then scanned using hand-held laser scanners to acquire a digital 3D model of the vacuum bag. This 3D model is transformed into a wire frame mesh to be carved.