November 9, 2009
Pressure Mapping at Walton Seating and Equipment Clinic Helps Wheelchair Users Find the Right Fit
Augusta, GA—On the computer screen, a spot glows an angry red, and physical therapist Margaret Blagg points it out.
“Here you can see that there’s an area of increased pressure,” she explains to a patient during an assessment using the Walton Seating and Equipment Clinic’s pressure mapping system. “Let’s make some adjustments and see if we can alleviate that pressure.”
For those in wheelchairs, sites of increased pressure can lead to pressure sores, chronic wounds that can occur within hours, are difficult to heal and can be very painful. And expensive—according to national data, the cost of healing a single pressure ulcer can be upwards of $40,000.
Walton Seating and Equipment Clinic’s pressure mapping system helps patients avoid the physical and financial toll that pressure ulcers can take. During an assessment, therapists place a mat with pressure-sensitive cells on the seat of a patient’s wheelchair. Once seated, therapists can clearly see areas where pressure ulcers could develop, as pressure gradients read by the mat are relayed to a computer in real time.
Using this information, rehab specialists can make cushion and wheelchair adjustments, such as ordering specialized pressure-relieving cushions or adjusting leg rests or foot plates to ensure adequate support and blood flow. It is also an opportunity to educate patients about weight shifting, additional tools like wheelchair tilt and recline, daily skin inspections, as well as the importance of good nutrition to help prevent pressure ulcers. The goal is for patients to have evenly dispersed pressure, with no areas of high-density pressure.
“While wheelchairs may be the standard device that people associate with disabilities, achieving the proper fit, cushioning and support for wheelchair users is anything but standard,” said Dr. Pam Salazar, Medical Director of Walton Rehabilitation Health System.
The Walton Seating and Equipment Clinic sees patients of all ages. To make a referral, call 706-722-1244.
Media Contact: Danielle Wong Moores, Public Relations Specialist, 706-434-0150
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