Some practical considerations to bear in mind when formulating trials:
- Be aware of the inter-relationship between the seating system with the wheeled mobility base and assess the system as a whole against the identified goals.
- Set up the trial equipment to simulate the MAT results and body measurement as much as possible. (Tip: using the assessment information, it is easier to set up a system before the client is transferred into the chair rather than making big adjustments to the system while the client is seated.)
- Fine tune the set up when the client is seated in the system by assessing and adjusting the client’s posture on the basis of the MAT findings.
- Check if there are localised pressure issues, for example, between the thoracic lateral support and the rib cage. Changing the size or position of the support may be required.
- Discuss and communicate with the client and carer about the trial equipment process in order to reach the identified goals.
- Provide instructions for equipment use and maintenance during the trial..
- Encourage clients to provide feedback on aspects such as body movement, environmental access, comfort, transfers etc. as listed in the initial interview. If several items are being trialled at the same time, the therapist should consider listing them and ask for feedback in a systematic way using a table format, including time duration, daily / regular functional tasks conducted, in their environment. This is particularly useful when documenting clinical rationale and funding applications. Establishing clear goals will make feedback easier.
- Skin checks are recommended to detect any pressure injury risks. Within reason and available resources, checks should be conducted after 20 – 30 minutes of the trial set up. If there are signs of skin damage (localised redness or non-blanching) suspend the trial until a seating review is undertaken. Otherwise repeat the skin check in 2 hourly increments for the first day (See Module 3 for a review of skin checks, see Module 8 for an overview of staged trials of pressure management equipment).
- Consult with a Spinal Seating Service for assistance as required.