Peter Wingrave, Sales Director AAT GB, explains the benefits of variable vacuum postural support systems
We all know the benefits of the beanbag concept in terms of its all-round support. But is the accepted ‘norm’- applying a fixed mould to ensure the client remains in the correct position- the best solution? It’s not the only one for sure…
The one inevitable in life is that client needs change with time- they grow, their condition deteriorates, or they develop other issues. These all impact on the size and shape of the mould. Changing that mould takes time and costs money and puts a big pressure on getting it right first time!
Infinitely variable alternative
There is an alternative, rapidly growing in popularity with OTs and client alike: Chilli Bean.
It uses vacuum technology, whereby removal of the air between the ‘beans’ in the cushion provides a precise, uniform postural support without pressure points. It can be infinitely re-shaped. It holds that shape for weeks. And, with modern technology, we can ‘pressure map’ the supporting area, to eliminate any potential danger points at the outset.
As needed, the client’s carers can simply attach a pump to replump or re-mould the shape, without any need to organise a re-assessment and implement the procedure for a replacement mould.
We’ve even developed a roller base, so the Chilli Bean- and its occupant- can be easily moved from one room to another.
Chilli Bean has been such a success it has evolved into all aspects of life- now, as well as sitting systems, we have Grande for sleeping, Bath Board for bathing, Smart Cradle for shower seats, Multiseat for travelling by car, Bagel for swimming, plus a raft of additional shapes to enable equipment to be made as supportive and comfortable.
Health & wellbeing- for all involved
I was talking with a client, Fab Betts, who put it into harsh perspective. On the recommendation of her OT, she has tried one of our Stabilo vacuum posture cushions with our bath board to support her young son Ted during bath time(2). She said:
“All the other equipment we tried was so uncomfortable for him, it would end in tears. Now, he loves bath time. That’s better for all of us.”
Physical and sensory support
The structure also means the bag can be used as a sensory aid: pop an appropriate music player underneath, and the sound, beat and rhythm will transfer through the cushion.
Small, velcro-fixed versions mean a single limb can be stabilised during a period of therapy. Large versions replace bed mattresses and can be exactly formed to shape and support the trunk and limbs as needed, even allowing creation of abduction wedges.
One client has even undertaken a multi-disciplinary activity challenge and used the cushions to adapt his canoe!
Whenever a degree of stabilisation is needed, there’s an AAT Stabilo.
Do note, AAT’s specialist team will work alongside you with a fee-free assessment for clients.