We are tasked with creating a chair that allows our client to participate in therapy while maintaining good posture and being well supported, especially in the head/neck area.
Our client suffers from a traumatic brain injury. He is attending therapy in order to work on his muscle strength and control as he grows. His parents would like to have a chair that supports him as he goes through his different exercises in therapy. His head and neck area are extremely vulnerable because he doesn’t have much control or strength in this area. When sitting in a regular feeding chair, his head will fall to the side whenever not supported by a cushion. Also, his lack of core strength results in him constantly sliding out of the bottom of the chair if not supported by velcro or some other anti-slip substance. The parents have requested that a strap not be used to help support his lower half in the chair because he has a feeding tube on his lower left abdomen. Therefore, me need a less restricting method of keeping him upright.
Given our clients specific needs the chair must be supportive and, as suggested by the therapists and parents, somewhat modular. He partakes in speech, occupational, and physical therapy therefore the chair must be compatible with all. After speaking with the therapists we determined the chair must be able to recline slightly, have headrests fall flat, hold a food or activity tray, and maintain his upright position with a restraint or bolster of some sort.
When looking into therapy chairs there is an abundance for this situation. However, most of these chairs cost close to a thousand dollars or far greater than that. Looking at the different models allowed us to take pieces from each and combine them into one chair we each thought would fit the client best. The biggest hurdle we have ran into so far is finding the simple locks and mechanisms used on the chair.
This design was based around a standard feeding chair somewhat like the one used currently, but with design modifications to suit the requests of the family. The back piece is adjustable to 110 degrees in order to allow for easier feeding. Currently, he has to wear a neck support in order to keep his head upright when eating. A slight lean like this would allow him to relax a little more while eating. There is also head padding and a strap to help support him further and add some comfort while going through his therapy exercises. The seat has a very simple memory foam padding that is cut in such a way that he wont slide out of his chair through the leg portion of the chair. This will minimize restraint around his waist and keep his feeding tube completely accessible. The foot portion of the chair is also adjustable in order to allow for his growth as he gets older. There is also memory foam padding that is cut out for his feet on this platform. The legs of the chair are adjustable as well to accommodate the therapists while exercising our client; this will allow the therapist to transition to a chair easily if desired.
This chair design is based off of the background research ideas. This chair has padding to allow for the client to be comfortable. The seat’s padding will be designed in order to keep the client in the seat will little restraints. The backrest will recline to allow for the client to be more comfortable. The head rest and the foot pads will be adjustable for growth of the client. The headrest will have adjustable restraints to keep the clients head forward when needed. The whole chair will be able to adjust up and down when needed. The chair will also be on wheels that will lock when needed.
This design was based on a feeding chair like the one currently used along with requests made by the family and therapist to make it more functional and comfortable. The back piece is reclinable to 70 degrees to allow for easier feeding. There are also head pads and a strap to help hold his head in place for feeding, but it can be loosened to have more range of motion for therapy exercises. The seat has a padded adjustable block so that he will not slide out of his chair through the leg portion. This will help minimize restraint around his waist and keep his feeding tube completely accessible while maintaining comfort and the support needed. The foot portion of the chair and the head rest are adjustable in order to allow for his growth as he gets older. There is also memory foam padding that is cut out for his feet on this platform. The leg of the chair is adjustable as well so that the chair can be used while standing or while sitting. I opted for a single support leg located in the middle of the seat similar to an office chair. This will cut down on material costs while also making the chair lighter weight.
The chair was drawn to be adjustable at almost every point to allow for growth of the client. Seat padding will be memory foam with a center bolster to keep the client from sliding forward. The back rest can be some simple cushion foam just to be comfortable but needs to be stiff enough to hold position. The chair reclines a max of 110 degrees as per the therapists instructions. The foot support will be covered in a grip tape commonly found on skateboards.
We were able to improve the chair to our client’s needs.
First, We created a new head rest for the chair.
Second, We made the leg supports easier to adjust.
Third. We reupholstered the cushions on the chair.