My first complex rehab technology (CRT) evaluations were in the early 1990s (although it was not called CRT in the 90s). In the beginning, I recall relying heavily upon the rehab technology professional working on the evaluation team with me. I told him what my patient needed and he told me what equipment would meet that need. My job was to justify the selection, which could be difficult since I didn't really select the specific pieces of equipment.
As I gained a little experience and became more familiar with the options, I realized I had started to develop my "favorites" and "go-to cushions." Eventually, I began making recommendations based on patient goals and understanding the unique benefits of each cushion. As a clinician working with individuals with disabilities, you may find yourself in a similar position when you determine that the patient you are treating needs a permanent wheelchair and seating system.
So how do you increase your knowledge and learn to make the best cushion selection for your patients' needs? Here are some tips that have helped me along the way:
It is impossible to know every cushion on the market and how they will perform for every individual. So how can you improve your ability to recommend the best cushion for your patient? This is one of the most important parts of your seating and mobility services. As clinicians, our role is to ensure that the recommended cushion meets the needs and goals of the individual. Individuals are looking for clinicians to provide clinical support that they cannot get when ordering directly online. Steps to follow for cushion selection:
As with all parts of the seating and mobility assessment, the more information you gather and the more tools you have to use, the more it will enhance the cushion selection process. This collection of tips is just one more tool to add to your seating and mobility toolbox.
Linda Bollinger, PT/ATP/DPT
Clinical Education Manager
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