The Importance of Sitting Posture in the ElderlyOctober 11, 2014
When sitting down, how many of you actually think about how you’re sitting?
Bad posture can affect our bodies in many different ways, but for the elderly (especially those who are immobile and in care homes) it can be even more troublesome.
The team here at Nichol and Hill are going to take a closer look into why sitting posture plays such an important part in the health of the elderly, and what we can do to make improvements.
Why is sitting posture important?
In elderly people, changes in the condition of the spine can cause limited flexibility and lack of muscle strength which can all contribute to causing a change in sitting position. This, coupled with sitting for a prolonged length of time in a bad posture can encourage the development of pressure sores on the skin, which can substantially impair the quality of one’s life.
In nursing homes, it falls down to the staff to have to continually keep repositioning the residents, who will most likely be agitated due to the level of discomfort they are experiencing.
Taking all of this into consideration, there is a definite need to create proper seating devices that provide comfort and offer functional support, whilst relieving the stress on any bony areas to help make all residents feel content and relaxed.
A study was undertaken throughout three care homes in Hong Kong, with a total of 35 subjects taking part in the experiment to ensure there was a mixture of criteria met. This included people who; were at 65 years old, were unable to adjust their own posture unassisted, at high risk of developing pressure sores and had poor sitting posture.
A seating device was created by a qualified occupational therapist and was given to each resident. The chair included:
- A foam contour for pressure relief.
- A back support that could be contoured.
- A pelvic belt to prevent the individual from sliding down and out of the chair.
Unfortunately some individuals died during the trial period, so the numbers decreased to 29, but the overall results were astonishing! There were significant improvements made across the board, with stability increasing and forward sliding diminishing.
Out of 29, only three residents required repositioning and only 4 still required the use of physical restraints. Also, in the former conventional chair, 12 were behaving in a disturbing manner, whereas in the adapted chair, only 4 showed signs of this behaviour still. Before the trial, 19 of the 29 were dependent on help when eating, whereas 10 of these gained their independence and could now feed themselves.
These are huge improvements for the residents, but there are also improvements made for the carers. The burden of care was significantly reduced and it relieved carers workload as there was less assistance required from residents.
The objectives of proper seating
The main objectives of proper seating can be divided into three main categories:
- Activity related/ functional
Feeding, drinking, reading.
- Physiological function
Swallowing, respiration, digestion, elimination.
- Psychological function
Effective communication /socialising /self image.
With 25 million people suffering from mobility impairments, those requiring mobility aid is on the increase. So if we can help make changes through sitting postures, like it has been proven with the adapted chair, then we will hopefully not only see an improvement in the elderlies posture, but also in their digestion, breathing, pressure sores and skin irritation, giving them an overall better quality of life.
Nichol and Hill
As the experts in soft furnishings and furniture for the care industry, Nichol and Hill can provide excellent quality seating solutions. Our range includes; Queen Anne style wing chairs, sofas, tub chairs and dining rooms chairs. Simply get in touch with us today for more information.Care Industry. Bookmark the permalink. ← What is sensory stimulation? The Darlington Dementia Cafe →