Wheelchair with Dynamic Occupant-Tilt Feature; Developed for Pressure Ulcer Prevention
Originally conceived as a pressure ulcer preventative, this specialty wheelchair allows caregiver and/or patient user to apply automated settings of seated movement for the caregiver and/or patient user. Manual manipulation demands time and resources and leaves open the possibility of costly human error. The automated timed movements support recommended seating angles and length of time at each angle. Neither feature is available in tilt-in-space wheelchairs currently marketed.
Unmet Need: There is a demonstrated need for a fully automatic tilt-in-space wheelchair that can adjust the angle and tilt of the occupant dynamically and programmatically, to allow for adequate tissue pressure relief.
Wheelchairs are an essential means of mobility, permitting an occupant to perform activities that would otherwise be difficult or impossible. They are a critical piece of equipment in many hospital and caregiving settings.
Simple manual wheelchairs are limited to a fixed seated position, or a small range of manually adjustable positions. They are unsuitable for long-term occupancy, as remaining seated in a fixed position for extended periods increases the risk of soft-tissue injuries such as pressure ulcers as tissue is not properly offloaded. This can lead to serious complications and even death.
More expensive devices known as tilt-in-space wheelchairs offer the ability to widely adjust the angle and tilt of the occupant relative to the base of the wheelchair, allowing for tissue offloading preventing pressure ulcers. However, tilt-in-space wheelchairs still require an attentive person to make the necessary adjustments at appropriate points over a period of time, either manually or automatically by either the occupant or the caregiver. This not only takes up time and resources, but also leaves open the possibility for human error on the part of the occupant or caregivers leading to inadequate relief of pressure on tissue if the tilting schedule is not adhered to.