Day-to-day living can present countless challenges for people who have limited mobility. Routine tasks like taking a shower or getting a cup of coffee can be nearly impossible — and incredibly unsafe — for people living with health conditions that restrict movement. Without safe and high-quality durable medical equipment, these seemingly routine activities can be difficult and dangerous. With the right equipment, people can accomplish daily tasks with more autonomy and less risk of injury.
While engaging in activities of daily living (ADLs) like getting out of bed or getting dressed can be challenging for individuals who have a mobility-limiting illness — as well as for their caretakers — spending their days in an uncomfortable chair only makes matters worse. An uncomfortable wheelchair might limit the risk of falling, but it can cause increased anger and depression and a decreased quality of life. That said, having the most comfortable wheelchair possible is crucial to the overall health of users.
This is understandable. Sitting hunched over and in pain in a wheelchair is no way to live. When a chair is customized, comfortable, and adjustable, users can connect with the world around them and find more enjoyment in daily activities.
Broda’s chairs do precisely that. They’re sized for each individual to eliminate slipping and slouching, and they provide a footrest that makes front transfers safer for both caregivers and users. Dynamic seating conforms to each user’s body. Tilt and recline abilities increase the functionality of the chair. Position straps and water-resistant lateral supports add security. And the stainless steel frame makes Broda’s chairs durable and long-lasting.
Each of these elements is a vital part of what makes Broda one of the best wheelchair manufacturers in existence. Let’s dive into why these features are the most defining qualities.
Comfort and Safety
When shopping for a wheelchair, people often assume that what’s comfortable isn’t safe (and vice versa). But this doesn’t have to be true. Broda’s chairs are made to maximize both comfort and safety, meaning users never have to sacrifice one for the other.
When someone is confined to a chair all day long, fidgeting is inevitable. We design our chairs to accommodate these involuntary movements. Although our seat belts are designed to completely strap users in to ensure those movements don’t cause them harm, they’re not designed to be restraints. We make our belts with extra padding to prevent them from ever being too tight or restrictive.
Additionally, the design of our seating allows the chair to conform to the body, fitting it to the individual who will use it most. If someone can comfortably sit in a chair all day, his or her risk of falling plummets. By making comfort features a priority, you also increase the wheelchair safety of users. Here are three key features of Broda’s chairs that help us achieve both goals:
- Tilt-in-Space: Tilt-in-space wheelchairs allow people to use their upper extremities more easily — giving them increased independence and boosting their quality of life. It also provides them with greater postural support by aligning their hips at a fixed angle. Proper posture is important for reducing pain and decreasing the risk of additional health problems. The ability to tilt decreases weight and tension on the upper body, making daily activities like eating and communicating easier.
- Dynamic Seating: Those who are in long-term care may find it increasingly difficult to move purposefully. They need seating that accommodates their fluctuating muscle tone and reflexes, and Broda’s Comfort Tension Seating meets that need. It’s integrated into our durable frames to accommodate people who are prone to agitation. This type of seating is perfect for patients who have conditions like ALS, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, or MS and struggle with tremors or involuntary movements. Combined with tilt-in-space positioning, Comfort Tension Seating drives better clinical outcomes and quality of life.
- Pressure Redistribution: Comfort Tension Seating is designed to contour to the individual, distributing the weight of the patient across multiple points. It’s vital for comfort as well as for preventing pressure injuries. Any facility that has cared for patients who develop pressure sores knows how costly they are to treat; it’s estimated that $11 billion is spent on pressure ulcers in the U.S. annually. Care for a single wound can run anywhere from $500 to $70,000. Our chairs help mitigate the risk of pressure injuries and paying that steep price.
Beyond being the most comfortable wheelchairs and the safest, Broda’s chairs and wheelchairs are functional. What do we mean by that? First and foremost, they help users achieve adequate posture. In turn, this supports the respiratory system and helps facilitate digestion while reducing the risk of aspiration and other GI tract implications.
Broda’s chairs give patients the ability to tilt and recline, which means caretakers no longer have to move patients every couple of hours to ensure proper blood flow. Wheelchair users can enjoy more freedom without unwanted disruptions to shift position. With additional features like the adjustable footrests that make it easy to transfer patients in and out of their chairs, both quality of care and quality of life increase.
If a patient requires frequent repositioning due to excessive swelling or edema, they’re almost certain to become quite uncomfortable in a standard wheelchair. Research also shows that spinal pain is common among wheelchair users. In that case, they may choose to lie down in bed more frequently. Instead of being more mobile, they end up confined to one room — and that isolation can take a toll on their mental health. As many as 1 in 4 palliative care patients experience depression. No one should be confined to a single room for a majority of their days, but not all wheelchair styles are functional enough to avoid this reality.
Because Broda’s chairs are designed with functional mobility features in mind, patients can sit for much longer periods using our products. As a result, people who use our chairs can move from place to place and spend time with others.
Functional mobility chairs go beyond just technical features. They allow users to spend time with the people they love and the world around them. Limited mobility shouldn’t be synonymous with isolation, and that’s why we do what we do.
Broda’s chairs and wheelchairs are widely known for their durability. Some of our chairs are still going strong after more than 20 years of use in healthcare facilities. While the return on investment is higher on our chairs because of how long the equipment lasts, many clinicians still opt for low-cost options to save money in the short term.
It might seem overwhelming when you initially see the costs attached to high-quality durable medical equipment, but these are indeed the best options for anyone in need of mobility support. The price may be higher initially, but Broda’s chairs can save users significant amounts of money down the line. A low-cost chair might be inexpensive initially, but the money users will spend on maintenance and repairs every few years adds up. Broda’s chairs are so durable that the initial expense pays off for many years to come.
When one of our customers was researching wheelchair styles for a family member, they felt Broda was the right choice but struggled with the cost. A little bit of research helped them find insurance and government funding to help offset the out-of-pocket costs, ultimately allowing them to make the best choice for their loved one. All of our chairs are at least partially covered by Medicaid and Medicare, and many veterans who we serve can use GSA funding for their chairs.
For care facilities, it’s important to consider how longer-lasting products save money in the long run. One nursing facility in California was excited to try Broda’s equipment. After an in-service demonstration, the clinicians were even more energized and ready to start ordering chairs for their patients. Still, the facility’s leadership was wary because of the upfront expense. Once they factored in the clinical benefits and cost-savings from preventing falls and pressure sores — as well as how our chairs would make it easier for caregivers to do their jobs — it became an easy decision.
Transportation is an essential cost consideration, too. Calling an ambulance is expensive, and investing in Broda’s chairs helps cut those costs by preventing the falls that lead to those calls. As the leading cause of injury deaths in those 65 and over, falls are responsible for billions of dollars in annual costs. In 2015, nonfatal falls were associated with $49.5 billion in expenditures.
For these many reasons, Broda’s mission is to create an excellent seating experience that prioritizes safety and comfort, offers incredible functional mobility, and delivers lasting value. For people who have limited mobility, being bound to a chair can be difficult. Thankfully, high-quality wheelchairs unlock opportunities for a better, safer, and more comfortable life.