‘Ultra’ Ultra-Low Bariatric System

It’s a fallacy to think that successful bariatric seating is simply a matter of making a system bigger. In reality, bariatric clients have unique clinical issues requiring a multi-faceted approach.

Motion Concepts’ new “Ultra” Ultra-Low bariatric system does just that, thanks to an elevating, articulating calf platform and a power sliding seat.
Says Brad Peterson, vice president of Sales and Education, “We’d been seeing a lot of people who were very large, who had very large lower extremities, and they could not be properly, safely or stably positioned in normal power bases with their legs the way they were.”

In this new system, the seat slides forward 8 inches while the calf panel, which is part of the base unit, remains in place and out of the way. This configuration enables the client to back up to the edge of the seat, then sit without negotiating around the chair’s front riggings.
The seat then slides backward into place, and the client can use the tilt function “to allow gravity to help them get all the way back in the system,” Peterson says.
By sitting back in the chair, the client helps the wheelchair maintain proper balance and stability. Peterson says this new system began as a customized fabrication for a teacher who was using a scooter and was therefore unable to maneuver well indoors. “We had to get her into a mid-wheel-drive chair and maintain the stability of the system. The question was ‘How do we take a large person with very large legs, put them in a power base, and have that base be stable and perform well?’”

In bariatric mobility, Peterson says it’s common to see clients with “very large legs, lymphedema and very bad circulation. They need to get those legs elevated over their heart. They need to put themselves in a position over the course of a day where they can get proper blood flow.”
The calf panel is critical to attaining that positioning during the tilt process, Peterson says: “As (the system) elevates, the calf panel itself slides or articulates” to prevent shearing.

“It’s a one-piece calf panel,” Peterson notes. “Many times, people try to accommodate really large calves and ankles with standard elevating legrests, where you have a lot of sharp points or pressure points. The one-piece calf panel gives them a wide, soft, supportive place for their legs.”
Simultaneously, the system maintains a low seat-to-floor height — approximately 19 inches. “Seat-to-floor height is really the make-or-break measurement for many people as far as environmental access, and getting onto public transportation and into vans,” Peterson says.

Peterson says the system’s weight capacity is about 500 lbs., but adds, “We can pretty much do any weight you want. It just depends on the base you’re putting it on.”
The key to the “Ultra” Ultra-Low Bariatric System is that it takes a multi-faceted approach to the unique issues its clients face.
“Addressing the needs of the bariatric population goes far beyond building it bigger and stronger,” Peterson says. “That’s why we try to look at not just making it bigger and stronger, but also shaping it around them.”

Motion Concepts
700 Ensminger Road, Suite 112
Tonawanda, NY 14150
(888) 433-6818

This article originally appeared in the September 2008 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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