It’s only natural to want our loved ones to be safe and comfortable, and that doesn’t change when they reside in an assisted living, skilled nursing, or hospice and palliative community. But if their residence uses the geriatric medical chairs common in so many facilities, your loved one’s safety and comfort could be compromised.
Budgetary constraints lead some facilities to avoid using appropriate positioning chairs and instead have individuals use inferior medical equipment that actually increases discomfort — sometimes to the point of danger.
A basic geriatric chair looks like a chaise lounge on wheels, which sounds quaint and comfortable until you envision a loved one struggling to get in and out of it on a routine basis. It’s not hard to imagine a relative or friend sitting uncomfortably in a geriatric chair and growing agitated as he or she repeatedly changes positions or even slips out and falls to the ground. Unfortunately, these scenarios happen all the time: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that falls kill and injure more people age 65 and older than any other cause.
It is even worse for those who are unable to get out of bed and into positioning or mobility devices. Discomforted residents who spend more time in bed or inferior seating encounter a suite of other health concerns, including bed sores and pressure injuries. Pressure injuries account for about $11 million in medical expenses in the U.S. annually, with a single wound costing anywhere from $500 to an astounding $70,000 to treat and heal.
Poor seating options also create mental health concerns. Even if residents aren’t bedridden, they are typically propped up with ill-fitting cushions and pillows in bulky geriatric chairs that are equipped with clunky adjustment mechanisms and puny casters instead of wheels. These factors combine to increase agitation, limit resident mobility, and, by extension, social interaction with others and their surroundings.
Moving Beyond Cost
Geriatric chairs are basic positioning chairs that can sometimes have varying degrees of limited recline and tilt functionality. They also seem to have been designed without consideration for user comfort and ease of use for caregivers. These chairs are popular among long-term and complex care facilities primarily due to their low cost.
Because of their configuration, the materials used in manufacturing, and their lack of proper support and maneuverability, geriatric chairs increase the risk of patients developing pressure injuries — particularly on the buttocks, coccyx, and sacrum — even when caregivers can make limited adjustments.
Given a choice, residents prefer more robust and versatile chairs that offer better positioning, enhanced comfort, and maneuverability options. Compared to inferior geriatric chairs, several built-in advantages help Broda’s chairs and wheelchairs stand out as superior:
- Pressure relief: The Comfort Tension Seating® system prevents any “bottoming out” effect, which protects skin integrity. This reduces the chance of skin breakdown by improving blood flow, retention of tissue, and oxygenation. It also aids individuals who possess a limited range of motion or cannot shift their weight freely. Meanwhile, our tilted seating surface relieves pressure from vulnerable areas below the pelvis.
- Positioning: The infinitely adjustable posterior tilt of our chairs lessens gravity’s effects on the trunk and upper body, addresses problems with decreased control of the head and neck, and allows for more functional and proper upright posture. Patients can enjoy greater practical use of their upper extremities and are less likely to slide out of position, which reduces the risk of falling. Enhanced comfort also leads to improved pain management and relief.
- Endurance: Broda’s products are built to stand the test of time, but the design also helps patients enjoy increased endurance. Suitable positioning and seating alignment decrease fatigue and postural deviation while increasing seating tolerance throughout the day. This leads to improved physical readiness to socialize and engage with their surroundings. Better yet, our posterior tilt enhances speech, visual orientation, arousal, and alertness.
- Medical functions: Consistently proper posture improves respiratory function through the use of tilt. Meanwhile, posterior tilt aids digestion while decreasing aspiration risk and other potential GI tract complications. Symptoms related to the swelling of extremities are regulated, and patients enjoy enhanced physiological processes while maintaining proper bowel and bladder function.
- Caregiver benefits: Our products offer numerous benefits to patients, but they also make life easier for their caregivers. Broda’s products increase physical readiness for functional mobility-related activities of daily living such as toileting, feeding, dressing, grooming, and bathing. They also allow for frequent repositioning throughout the day, which results in improved seating comfort and a reduced need to transfer.
In every way imaginable, Broda’s chairs and wheelchairs far exceed the performance of geriatric chairs. While our products require a more substantial investment on the front end, the functionality and durability of our chairs is well worth the price. To learn more about the clinical benefits of our chairs, please visit our clinical resource guide.