Goals of Seating and Considerations for Generic Seating Product Parameters

Canadian Clinical Blog by Sheilagh Sherman, BA, BHScOT, MHM, OT Reg. (Ont.) - Sunrise Medical

Last month, I talked about the importance of the hands on assessment as a mat assessment provides so much information regarding a client’s seating needs. It is a step in the assessment process that cannot be missed.

This month, I would like to carry on from there. What do you do with the information that you have gathered from the overall assessment? Well, the next step is to use your clinical reasoning skills to determine what the goals of seating are for your client. What is it that you would like the seating to achieve for your client? Of course, as a client-centered therapist, you will collaborate with your client to determine what the goal or goals of seating are for that individual. Possible goals for seating may include one or more of the following: positioning, stability, skin integrity, managing tone, function/mobility and sitting tolerance/comfort.

Once you have established the goals of seating for your individual client, you need to think about the generic product parameters that are required to achieve those goals. Think about the level of skin protection that is needed and consider the method of load distribution that is best for your client. Think about the amount of positioning that is needed. Is there a fixed abnormal posture, such as posterior pelvic tilt or pelvic obliquity, which requires accommodation in the seating? Is the abnormal posture flexible and requires correction? Can the client tolerate correction? In addition, think about the amount of stability that is needed for function. Consider both lateral and forward stability. There are other factors to keep in mind as well, such as the client’s ability to perform any needed maintenance for a cushion and his/her ability to transfer in/out of the seating. So, a lot of clinical reasoning is used even before you get to the seating and equipment trial phase.


As always, please provide your comments, questions, and suggestions regarding Clinical Corner. Please email me at Sheilagh.Sherman@sunmed.com. I look forward to hearing from you!


Sheilagh Sherman BA, BHScOT, MHM, OT Reg. (Ont.) - Clinical Education Manager, Canada

Sheilagh Sherman, BA, BHScOT, MHM, OT Reg. (Ont.)

Sheilagh Sherman joined Sunrise Medical Canada in 2010 as a Clinical Educator. Prior to joining Sunrise, Sheilagh gained extensive clinical experience working in a variety of settings, including neurological rehabilitation, complex continuing care, and community rehabilitation. As the Clinical Education Manager, Sheilagh is a clinical resource for therapists across Canada involved in seating and mobility. She leads workshops, seminars, and webinars on the clinical aspects of seating and mobility. In addition, Sheilagh has presented at national and international conferences on seating and mobility.

Sheilagh also has an educational background that makes her well suited to the role of Clinical Education Manager. Sheilagh earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Toronto in 1988, which enables her to understand healthcare policy and policy changes. Sheilagh graduated with a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Occupational Therapy) degree from McMaster University in 1994. In 2012, Sheilagh earned a Certificate in Adult Education/Staff Training from Seneca College. She applies adult learning principles to the workshops she leads. Finally, she also has a Master of Health Management (MHM) degree from McMaster University after graduating in 2015. Courses that Sheilagh completed during the MHM degree, such as Knowledge Translation, Evaluating Sources of Evidence, and Quality & Safety in Healthcare, assist Sheilagh in using an evidence-based approach in her work.

In her free time, Sheilagh enjoys running, in addition to practicing yoga.


Date: 2011-03-18


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