Finding the right chair for someone with Huntington's Disease

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Seating someone with Huntington’s Disease can be very challenging and comfort and safety are key considerations in selecting the right chair.

Reducing the risk of injury is the number one priority as one of the most significant side effects of Huntington’s Disease is involuntary movements of the trunk, arms and feet. These movements can result in falls and the person coming to extra harm from hitting against hard surfaces on their chair. 

The severity of these chorea movements can also mean the person slides out of their chair and falls onto the floor. This leads to family members needing to lift their loved one back into their chair and the person is unable to be left unattended for more than a few minutes at a time.  This can be very distressing for the person and their family members.

Some of the symptoms that need to be considered when choosing the correct chair for a person with Huntington’s Disease include:
  • Low mobility.
  • Postural instability.
  • Involuntary movements.
  • Loss of voluntary movement.
  • Low/high muscle tone.
  • Rigidity.
  • Muscle degeneration.
  • Weakness.
  • Fatigue.
  • Confusion / altered mental state.
  • Agitation.

 

In addition to the above, it needs to be remembered that Huntington’s Disease is a progressive condition and future symptoms and abilities must be considered. What suits a person today may not be suitable in 6 or 12 month’s time. 

Tips for Families and Caregivers
  • Get a proper seating assessment – An Occupational Therapist can help you trial and choose the most appropriate chair based on current and future needs. They can also assist in accessing funding such as the NDIS. 
 
  • Make sure the patient is comfortable. This goes without saying, if the patient is not comfortable in the chair, the other functions are rendered virtually worthless.
 
  • Know your requirements.  Opt for multi–adjustable seating. Know which features are required to accommodate the needs of the person, and ensure they come as standard on your chair.  Deep and safe positioning of the user to reduce sliding and with padded surfaces to reduce risk of injury are often the top requirements when seating someone with Huntington’s Disease. 
 
  • Consider the level of pressure care. Ensure that the chair provides adequate pressure management properties. People with Huntington’s are often sitting for long periods throughout the day and can be at risk of pressure injuries which can be debilitating.  Seating Matters chairs are made with memory foam in the back, seat and calf pad as standard. Tilt in space and back angle recline can also aid in pressure management and loading the body.
 
  • Consider Chair Materials and Fabrics. As a lot of people with Huntington’s can also move a lot in their chair they are exposed to further risks of skin tears from shear and friction which can ultimately lead to pressure injuries.  All the weight bearing areas on our chairs are covered with Dartex material which is multi stretch, breathable and durable to reduce moisture, increase circulation and reduce the effects of friction and shear.
 
  • Patient dignity. Can the person sit at the table to dine or join others in the family room?  To encourage dignity and independence of patients these are very important factors to consider when choosing your seating.  Seating Matters chairs are very mobile throughout a home or care facility.
 
Spotlight on the Atlanta chair by Seating Matters

The Atlanta chair was designed specifically for the needs of people with Huntington’s Disease by Martina Tierney, Occupational Therapist. 

The Atlanta is a safe, comfortable chair that provides dignity to people at risk of falling, sliding or injuring themselves.

The Atlanta can accommodate people who are challenging to seat, and is often used for those with Huntington’s Disease, late stage dementia or in a palliative care setting. The chair is low to the ground and very stable, meaning it will not tip due to vigorous involuntary movements or impulsive behaviours. The chair is well padded and has no areas of entrapment, reducing the risk to the user.

The integrated tilt and recline positions the person deep into the chair, helping to reduce sliding. The deep seat position provides a soothing and reassuring environment to promote calm and relaxation. The high arm rests help support those who tire and have difficulty maintaining an upright posture.

 

How the Atlanta can keep people with Huntington’s Disease Safe

  • The seat angle adjustment and back angle adjustment on the Atlanta means the pelvis can be lowered low down into the chair reducing the effect of the involuntary movements typical with Huntington’s Disease.
  • The integrated fully padded leg rest is angle adjustable to maintain a secure and comfortable position in the chair and can be used with the seat or taken away if not required.  The high arms and low seat angle position can help keep patients very safe and secure within the chair.
  • The arms are fully memory foam padded to reduce any risk of injury as a result of involuntary movements.
  • The high arms maintain lateral support and stability keeping the patient comfortable and minimising pressure risk.
  • The Atlanta has been successful chair for Huntington’s patients, Dementia patients, Parkinson’s patients and those suffering from lower limb odema.

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Case Study - Finding the right chair for Anne Marie With Huntington's Disease

By Martina Tierney, OT

I want to share with you Anne Marie’s Story.  For me, Anne Marie and her family’s story is one as an OT that I hear about often, but it can be difficult to explain the discomfort and danger someone like Anne Marie could be in whilst sitting in a regular arm chair. Anne Marie and her family have kindly agreed to let us share their experiences, describing their frustrations of not being able to find a solution; that was until they found the Seating Matters Atlanta chair and Anne Marie’s life changed. 

Anne Marie has Huntington’s disease and receives 24 hour care.  She lives in Milton Keynes, UK and is surrounded by a loving and supportive family, who like so many people we meet, only want the best care for their loved one.  

It can be challenging to seat someone who has Huntington’s disease. The symptoms include involuntary movements making it unsafe and problematic when seated.  In Anne Marie’s experience, she would slide from her arm chair every couple of minutes and would sometimes even end up on the floor.  Not only was this frustrating, not to mention dangerous for Anne Marie, her family had to spend so much time lifting her and couldn’t leave her unattended for more than a few minutes at a time which caused an inevitable strain on the family.

Anne Marie’s son Liam and his partner Victoria play a huge part in caring for her so they have experienced first hand just how difficult it is to care for someone with Huntington’s disease and the frustrations that come with it. Huntington’s disease is an inherited genetic disorder causing the degeneration of nerve cells in the brain resulting in involuntary movements and neuromuscular deterioration.

Anne Marie used to sit in a rise recliner. “We were angry that there wasn’t a chair for her, it was incredibly frustrating. When you have a family member who has a debilitating condition and you don’t have the right equipment for their needs, it’s like the whole world is against you. It makes you feel like she is the only person in the world who has the condition and you ask yourself why is there nothing suitable? As she is peg fed it is dangerous for her to slide down in the chair so it was scary and frustrating,” said Victoria. 

BEFORE
AFTER

Victoria took matters into her own hands and searched online and found the Atlanta chair.  The Atlanta is a robust and durable chair which provides a safe and comfortable seat for those with vigorous involuntary movements while reducing the risk of sliding and falling from the chair. 

Our Seating Specialist Conor visited Anne Marie in her home and brought a chair for her. “Straight away she looked so comfortable and happy. When she was sat in her old chair, we had to tell her to sit up every few minutes and help her.  In her new chair, for the first 40 minutes she sat without us having to move her.” Hearing this brought me great joy.  I am so proud to hear that the chairs I have designed are making such a big impact for people and their families. 

Family members often play a big role and spend many hours caring for their loved ones. The Atlanta chair has given Anne Marie and her family some of that precious time back. “We can enjoy our time with her rather than getting angry that she is falling from the chair.” Victoria and Liam are even get much valued time back for themselves. “When you work an 8 hour shift and you have picked Anne Marie up after her falling after several times and she is getting annoyed and frustrated, it can be such hard work and you just want to enjoy time with her. Now we can!”

I am delighted that we were able to help you Anne Marie, Victoria, Liam and the rest of the family.  It is times like this that remind me why I do what I do. I love my job as an Occupational Therapist and knowing that not just Anne Marie has a better quality of life, but her whole family now does. Anne Marie and her family were happy for us to use their story as they felt it could help other people find a solution for seating someone with Huntington’s disease.  

 

 

DISCLAIMER:

The purpose of this video is to give an overview of the product with some tips to consider on its use. This is not intended to be a substitute for professional or medical advice, diagnosis, prescription or treatment and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. For advice with your personal health or that of someone in your care, consult your doctor or appropriate medical professional.

In addition, the content of this video should not be interpreted as a predictor or guarantee of future financial or clinical outcomes with different patients. Clinicians and users must employ correct decision making, undertake proper assessments, education, comply with local regulations and ensure correct use of equipment.

If you’d like some support in person, you can contact us on 1800 351 449 or arrange for an appointment for a Seating Specialist to visit you, or email us at ausoffice@seatingmatters.com

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Get Martina Tierney's - The Clinician's Seating Handbook PDF - FREE (RRP $27.95)

Request a FREE copy of The Clinician’s Seating Handbook today.

Martina Tierney OT's famous Handbook, used the world over, is an essential clinical resource that contains advice and clinical research to assist you in the prescription and use of specialist, therapeutic seating. The PDF handbook contains:
  • Over 100 pages.
  • Provides practical tips on performing seating assessments.
  • Your go-to guide for supporting various spinal presentations.
  • An extended guide to seating bariatric and paediatric patients.
  • Information on the new staging guidelines for pressure injuries.
  • Expanded, detailed patient case studies.

The Clinician’s Seating Handbook is used in academia, in clinical practice and with caregivers around the world to guide their practices around specialist seating. This useful resource is designed as an accessible, practical guide to enable you to improve patient care through specialist seating.

The Clinician’s Seating Handbook is a PDF Download. The PDF download link will be emailed to you. 

Click on the below images to reivew some of the pages from the Handbook:

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Huntington’s Disease Chairs

If you are looking for the best Huntington’s disease chair, look no further than Seating Matters. At Seating Matters, we provide a wide range of chairs to different facilities that massively help patients who are suffering from diseases such as this. When you buy from us, you can be safe in the knowledge that you are buying one of the best quality chairs on the market, along with having clinical evidence that they can help to prevent pressure injuries and sores to back them up. Learn more below about the advantages of providing patients with a Huntington’s disease chair and the chairs on offer from Seating Matters. 

The Range Of Chairs On Offer At Seating Matters 

Are you thinking about purchasing one of our chairs? What’s great about making a purchase from Seating Matters is that our friendly and knowledgeable team are here to help you make the right choice as we have plenty of chairs to choose from! Our designs include: 

  • Atlanta 
  • Phoenix 
  • Milano
  • Bariatric Sorrento 
  • Sorrento 
  • Monaco 
  • Kidz Phoenix 
  • Kidz Sorrento

If you are unsure which one will be best for patients with Huntington’s disease, please get in touch with our team and you can find the contact form below. 

Buy The Best Chairs For Huntington’s Disease At Seating Matters

Huntington’s disease is a hereditary condition. This disease works against nerve cells in your brain which can result in someone’s mobility, movement, behaviour and cognitive function being affected. A chair that is designed for someone with this disease can really help to improve their life and can provide a lot of amazing benefits. 

  1. Prevents Injuries – Many people opt for chairs that are completely upholstered. This is because those suffering with Huntington’s can often lose control over their limb movement and hurt themselves by hitting off of metal components. Having a chair that is completely upholstered helps to prevent any injuries from occurring. 
  2. Pressure Relief – Huntington’s disease can cause patients to lose weight rapidly and this can result in areas of their body being uncomfortable to sit on like their elbows or pelvis as these can constantly be knocking against the chair. This can lead to pressure injuries forming. Getting a chair that accommodates pressure relief is a great way to solve this problem. 
  3. Pelvic Positioning – Lastly, those suffering from this disease need to have a chair that can be angled backwards, allowing for the pelvis to be situated lower than the knees. Many people suffer from sliding forwards in their chairs due to their pelvis and this can help stop that. It also helps those who suffer from involuntary movements to stop sliding out of their chairs. 

Book Your Free Seating Assessment With Seating Matters Today 

If you are looking to buy a Huntington’s disease chair online, then contact Seating Matters today. Our chairs are perfect for aged care facilities and hospitals to help make your patients with Huntington’s more comfortable. Contact our team for your free trial of one of our seats and to get a free seating assessment. 

Seating Matters provides clinical healthcare seating chairs for Disabled & Elderly people in Australia. We sell bariatric chairs, orthopedic chairs, cerebral palsy chairs, occupational therapy chairs, stroke chairs, tilt space chairs, fall prevention chairs, motor neuron chairs, multiple sclerosis chairs, brain injury chairs, Paediatric chairs & other seating range in Australia. Browse our website for more information or contact us for more details.

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Each day I realise more and more the impact of seating on people's lives. For these people, the quality of their chair determines the quality of their life.
Martina Tierney
Founder and Clinical Director
Seating Matters