Making a Good Thing even Better
- By David Kopf
- Aug 01, 2008
Sunrise Medical Enhances the Usability of its Quickie Iris tilt-in-space wheelchair.
The “IRIS” in Sunrise Medical’s Quickie IRIS tilt-in-space chair stands for Intelligent Rotation in Space, and the label rings true.
Tilt-in-space chairs are different from reclining chairs in that they maintain patient position at all times. While a reclining chair helps a patient lean back, a tilt-in-space chair lets a patient rotate forward or backward via a rocker arm without actually moving themselves; the patient’s limbs and body stay in their original orientation, explains Christy Shimono, senior product manager for Sunrise Medical.
This can be particularly important for patients who need to maintain position, but need to relieve pressure in order to prevent decubitus ulcers, or for patients who might need to rotate while maintaining position for functional reasons, such as eating.
“The area [of use] that is really growing is to reduce pain and discomfort that can be associated with maintaining position,” Shimono says.
However, the tilt-in-space concept is not without its limitations. Shimono says that in developing its tilt-in-space chair, Sunrise met with patients to get a clearer idea about what they needed and why.
“We started to hear more and more that once a person gets tilted back or forward, the chair can become unstable,” She said. This meant finding a way to lengthen, shorten or reposition the wheelbase to account for the change in center of gravity.Adjusting the IRIS
Maintaining stability is at the heart of Sunrise’s development of the IRIS concept. The Quickie IRIS can be adjusted in three different ways to account for a change in center of gravity:
• Center of gravity-to-center of rotation adjustment. If the center of gravity is behind the center of rotation, then the patient’s weight will force the chair toward the reclining position. If the center of gravity is in front of the center of rotation, then the chair will try to rotate out of the reclining position.
By adjusting the back canes and legrest hanger assemblies on the Quickie IRIS backward or forward along the seat rail to align these two positions, the chair can be stably rotated to any reclining position and will remain in that position.
• Front stability adjustment. When realigning that center of gravity to the center of rotation, this can push the patient’s weight forward in relation to the front caster wheels. If the chair is on a downward-facing slope that could make the chair unstable by putting the patient’s center of gravity in front of the front caster wheel.
Adjusting the carriage to slide to the rear to get the patient’s center of gravity farther behind the front caster, increases the chair’s stability.
• Rear stability adjustment. The same thing
can happen with the rear wheel. If the patient’s weight is moved too far back, then the chair can become unstable on an uphill slope steep enough to push the center of gravity behind the rear wheel.
Moving the rear wheel forward or backward along the base frame improves stability in the same way as the front stability adjustment.Intelligent and Improved
How can an “intelligent” approach to tilt-in-space get smarter? For starters, Sunrise Medical has shaved 6 pounds off the Quickie IRIS’s weight, which is like having to carry one less “shot-put” a day, Shimono notes. Also the chair now comes in two tilt ranges: 60 degrees and 40 degrees, and the seat height can be lowered to 12.5 inches in relation to the floor, or 10.5 inches with a drop seat. This can be important for patients who might still foot propel, and thus need a lower seat-to-floor height
Probably the chair’s most important enhancement is its foot lever. An industry-wide issue with chairs is cables. They can get fouled or snagged in some way, and can also get thrown out of alignment. With the chair’s new, no-cable option, users can depress a foot lever to release the chair for tilting, rather than use cable-actuated triggers. (Those triggers are still available for those who prefer them, Shimono says.)
The updated Quickie IRIS is available starting this month, and Shimono says interested providers should contact their Sunrise account manager to learn more.
This article originally appeared in the August 2008 issue of HME Business.
David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.