Specifying or buying adaptive seating for managing Huntington’s Disease can present a unique set of challenges.
From postural support and pressure sore/ulcer management, to ensuring patient comfort and handling involuntary movements; a neuro chair for Huntington’s must come with a supportive care chair that is built for a range of patient care scenarios.
Huntington’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative and hereditary condition that attacks specific nerve cells in the brain. The condition affects an individual’s ability to control their movements, leading to a range of physical, cognitive impairments and and even changes to a person’s behaviour.
As the disease progresses, people with Huntington’s often require adaptive seating solutions that can provide support and comfort to manage their symptoms.
This can make it very difficult to prescribe care chairs for people with Huntington’s Disease.
In this article, we’ll look at a few things that may be worth taking into consideration when you’re specify/buying a chair for someone with Huntington’s.
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When looking for adaptive seating solutions for individuals with Huntington’s Disease, it is important to consider several key factors. These include postural stability and support, pressure relief, safety features, and the comfort and mobility of the seated person.
It is also important to identify the key features to look for when selecting a specialist adaptive seating solution for people with Huntington’s Disease.
By addressing these factors, the right adaptive seating can help to improve quality of life and reduce the risk of injury and health issues.
In this section, we will explore the critical considerations for selecting adaptive patient seating and provide an overview of the features that can help support the unique needs of people with Huntington’s Disease.
When looking for specialist seating solutions for individuals with Huntington’s, it is crucial to consider the individual’s unique needs and preferences. One critical consideration is the level of support required for the individual’s posture and alignment.
People with Huntington’s may experience postural instability, which can lead to a range of problems, including pressure injuries and discomfort. Adaptive patient seating that offers postural support and alignment can help to reduce these risks and improve overall comfort.
Another key feature to consider when selecting adaptive seating for Huntington’s Disease is adjustability. Individuals with the condition experience progressive changes in their physical abilities and symptoms, and therefore require seating solutions that can adapt to their changing needs.
Adjustable patient seating allows for customisation, ensuring that the individual’s unique needs are met, regardless of their current stage of the condition.
Muscle degeneration, involuntary movements, and loss of mobility associated with Huntington’s Disease can increase the risk of pressure injuries in several ways. Muscle degeneration can cause the muscles that support the body to weaken, this can mean that a person with Huntington’s may “sink into” their chair leading to increased pressure on bony areas of the body.
This pressure can cause skin and tissue damage and eventually lead to the development of pressure injuries.
Chorea movements are a common symptom in people with Huntington’s disease and can lead to difficulties with posture and balance. These involuntary movements can cause the body to move in unpredictable ways, making it difficult to maintain a stable seated position.
Involuntary movements associated with Huntington’s can cause friction and shear on the skin, which can increase the risk of skin breakdown and pressure injuries. For example, individuals with the condition may rub their skin against clothing or surfaces, leading to skin tears and abrasions.
Specialist seating can be used to support individuals with chorea movements by providing postural support and stability. Lateral support cushions can help to prevent the individual from sliding out of the chair, while seat depth and backrest height can be adjusted to ensure that the individual is properly supported.
Additionally, the use of tilt-in-space chairs can be beneficial for individuals with chorea movements. These chairs allow for changes in position without compromising stability, and can provide pressure relief for individuals who are at risk for pressure injuries.
The padding and positioning of the seat and backrest can also help to reduce the risk of injury from involuntary movements. Padded surfaces can protect against impact, and a deep and safe seating position can prevent falls or other injuries.
Loss of mobility can make it difficult for a person with Huntington’s Disease to change positions frequently. This can result in sustained pressure on certain areas of the body, leading to the development of pressure injuries.
Additionally, decreased mobility can make it more challenging to notice and address early signs of skin breakdown, increasing the risk of pressure injuries progressing to more severe stages.
Overall, the combination of muscle degeneration, involuntary movements, and loss of mobility can significantly increase the risk of pressure injuries in people with Huntington’s.
It is essential to incorporate pressure relief features in adaptive seating solutions to prevent the development of pressure injuries and maintain skin health.
5. Upholstered Components
Involuntary movements are a hallmark symptom of Huntington’s Disease. Specialist adaptive seating solutions can provide support to these movements to ensure the individual’s safety and comfort.
For example upholstered components can help reduce friction and shear forces that may cause skin tears, which can ultimately lead to pressure injuries.
This is particularly important for individuals who may experience low/high muscle tone, rigidity, muscle degeneration, weakness, and fatigue.
As the nerve cells in the brain become more and more damaged, the individual loses control over their movements, particularly in their limbs. As you can imagine, continuously bumping against metal components of a care chairs can be painful and cause long-lasting damage.
Some care chairs give you the option of completely covering the components to minimise the chances of the user hurting themselves.
The Lento Neuro patient care chair is an excellent option if this is what you’re looking for. Specifically designed for people with Huntington’s Disease and other neurological conditions, the Lento Neuro care chair is completely covered to prevent any injuries that may be caused by repetitive involuntary movements.
6. Pressure Relief
When it comes to Huntington’s disease, making sure that the chair is comfortable in the long term is vital. As a result of the excessive and constant movements caused by this condition, it’s very easy for the individual to lose weight rapidly.
As you can imagine, that makes it more uncomfortable for people when they have bony bits (like their elbows, posteriors, pelvis, etc) that are constantly moving and knocking against the chair repeatedly. This can affect the person’s skin integrity and it can even lead to pressure injuries if nothing is done about it.
Finding a chair that can accommodate pressure relief cushions being used on it (or indeed one that already has it built-in) is highly advised.
We designed our Lento Care Chair to allow you easily choose the grade of pressure relief that your seat cushion offers without needing any tools or special training. This enables you to easily swap the cushion if someone’s risk of pressure sores increases/decreases.
One of the most significant challenges faced by individuals with Huntington’s Disease is postural instability. Pelvic positioning is crucial in achieving proper alignment and postural support.
Customised seating solutions for Huntington’s can help achieve this by providing personalised support for each individual’s unique needs. This includes lateral support to prevent slouching and forward positioning and posterior support to stabilise the trunk.
We can use specialist adaptive seating to make sure that the user is taken care of and their needs are catered to, so by looking out for these 3 things, you could really be helping someone with Huntington’s to keep comfy and supported whenever they’re sat down.
Caring for patients with Huntington’s Disease and managing the symptoms is a difficult task, the correct equipment can make this easier for carers and improve patient comfort and quality of life.
If you have any questions or need any further advice, please get in touch with us. Our trained seating assessors can carry out free no-obligation seating assessments and offer advice on whether the Lento Neuro is right for you.
Alternatively, you can download a free copy of our seating eBook that gives you a step-by-step guide to seating assessments for different conditions.