FAQ: Pressure Management In Seating Matters Chairs

A pressure injury is a localised injury to the skin and/or underlying tissue, usually over a bony prominence caused by pressure or pressure in combination with shear. Pressure injuries are a preventable injury and can cause serious health issues to elderly, sick or immobile individuals.

Martina Tierney, Occupational Therapist and Clinical Director of Seating Matters has dedicated most of her 30 year career to researching the impact of specialised seating on the quality of life of patients across the world.

Often clients only think of the cushion in the chair when considering pressure management.  New industry leading research by Ulster University and Seating Matters has revealed there are four areas that collectively, should be adhered to to ensure that optimum pressure relief is achieved whist seated, not just the cushion.  Results were staggering when these steps were implemented correctly, including an 88% reduction in pressure injuries.*

The Four Principles of Pressure Management in Seating are:

  1. Loading the Body
    When you increase an individual’s surface area contact with their chair, you reduce the pressure exerted through any one point. Achieved through correct seat dimensions – seat height, depth, width, foot plate height and angle.  

  2.  Provide Postural Support
    Proper support for the patient will help maintain a mid line posture and equalize the distribution of pressure throughout the body. Achieved through correct seat dimensions plus head, lateral and leg supports.

  3. Effective Repositioning
    Guidelines recommend that seated individuals are re positioned every 2 hours. This increased blood flow and the amount of oxygen reaching the skin. Research shows that 45° tilt can maximises the potential for significant blood flow increase and pressure reduction. Achieved using tilt-in-space.

  4. Use an Appropriate Surface
    The Seating Matters cushion is a visco memory foam based cushion coated in Dartex, an anti-shear, multi stretch material. This allows any bony prominences to submerge into the foam, achieving maximum surface area contact and reducing interface pressure. The fact that the material is breathable also helps with their pressure care as moisture is reduced on the skin surface. A medium to high risk memory foam cushion is standard on all our chairs. The cushion is removable to accommodate alternate cushions for higher risk needs

All the Seating Matters chairs have been designed with these features in mind.

*Daly, O., Casey, J., Martin, S., Tierney, M. & McVey, O. (2013) The effectiveness of specialist seating provision for nursing home residents, Ulster University.

Martina Tierney describes The Four Principles of Pressure Management in Seating and their importance whilst seating clients to acheive the best pressure management.

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