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Multi-positioning and support seating

This section includes chairs and seating that is designed to provide additional support for adults and children. Some chairs are designed to accommodate the size and weight of a heavier user, some can be made-to-measure. Some chairs have integral pressure relieving cushioning. Some have integral pressure relieving cushioning.

Tilt in space seating where the backrest and seat maintain the same angle in relation to each other when they recline.

Multi-adjustable seating provide a great degree of adjustability and a high level of support for people who cannot be supported in standard chairs. These chairs are available for domestic use but many will be used in other community or healthcare settings.

Activity seating that can be adjusted in height to allow access to the dining table, or other standard height tables. Some of the chairs adjust instantly in height by either a manual or powered mechanism. Others may need to be fitted to an extension frame.

Bead filled bean bag style seating, supplied with or without a frame, can provide an alternative type of seating for relaxing. Those supplied with a suitable frame are designed to offer more supportive normal sitting heights which would make it easier to carry out activities such as multi-sensory play. 

Deep seat chairs  with a backwards sloping seat, designed to provide a more comfortable and secure seating position for users who require more postural support and/or may experience involuntary movements. Generally, this type of seating is foam based, of robust construction and has minimal or no structural components for adjustment.

Hip spica chairs are specifically designed for children who have had hip surgery and are in a 'hip spica' cast which immobilises the hip joints and/or the thigh.

Corner and floor sitter chairs provide support for children who are developing sitting balance but who are inclined to fall back or sideways if they overstretch. They have a V-shaped backrest providing support at the back and sides of a child. On some models, the height of the backrest can be adjusted which varies the amount of support provided. Many have a pommel at the front to keep the legs apart (abducted). Tables or trays are also available from most suppliers. Extended floor supports at the back of the chair or a large base will increase its stability. Small children may want to spend a lot of time on the floor as this is the usual place for playing. Therefore these chairs may enable children to interact more easily with others as they can be at the same level for making eye contact.

Office style chairs have optional supports and accessories for children and young people with disabilities. They are often used as a child's classroom chair. They have castor bases (with brakes) and adjustment in the seat height, backrest angle and seat tilt. They may have armrests and options for increased postural support such as a pommel, trunk supports, headrests and footrests.

Straddle/bolster and saddle seats can be useful for a child who has good trunk and head control, but whose legs push tightly together. Sitting astride these seats takes the legs apart and may bring on more normal muscle tone. This can make it easier for a child to have control of their arms for activities such as eating and school work. Saddle seats require a child to get a secure 'footplant' to gain pelvic stability whereas the contours of a straddle seat will position a child's body.

Seating accessories for postural support and comfort such as headrests, side supports, pommels and back supports.

Abbotsford Tilt-in-space Dual Motor Riser Recliner Chair
Riser recliner chair with two motors and tilt-in-space function. Comprises: fabric upholstery; elevating leg rest section; leg section and backrest ca...
Abbotsford Tilt-in-space Single Motor Riser Recliner Chair
Riser recliner chair with one motor and tilt-in-space function. Comprises: fabric upholstery; elevating leg rest section; two side pockets; handset co...
Adult Alpha Bead Chair
Beanbag shaped in the style of a chair. Comprises: contemporary design; loose cover; wide range of fabric finishes and colours.
Adult Sovereign Chairs
Armchair with adjustable features and a range of options to suit individual user requirements. Comprises: four castors, rear two braked; interchangeab...
Apollo Twin Motor Tilt In Space Riser Recliner
Twin motor tilt in space riser recliner. Comprises: full length piped scroll arms. Options: range of fabrics.
Arlington Tilt In Space Chair
Dual motor petite tilt-in-space chair. Comprises: variable angle lift and tilt on seat lift; four-button handset for independent backrest and leg rest...
Astra Electric Dual Motor Tilt-in-space Rise And Recliner
Riser recliner chair. Comprises: polyurethane foam; tilt-in-space riser recliner with backrest and seat maintaining the same angle in relation to each...
Astra Trendelenburg Bariatric Dual Motor Electric Rise And Recline Chair
Trendelenburg/bariatric riser recliner chair. Comprises: pressure relieving cushion; tilt-in-space riser recliner with backrest and seat maintaining ...
Atlanta Tilt In Space Chair
Tilt-in-space chair which is hoist accessible and includes a baseboard to support the use of pressure management devices. Comprises: four castors, two...
Attend Mobile Chair
Tilt-in-space, pressure reducing, mobile chair. Comprises: carbon fibre chair, memory foam and vapour permeable fabric; lever operated tilt-in-space; ...
Baffin Neosit Rs Chair
Orthopaedic seat. Comprises: seat; backrest; side supports; footrest with foot platforms; headrest; hip belts; vest; table; upholstery removes for cle...
Bambach Saddle Seat
Adjustable height stool suitable for adults and children. Comprises: five-star castor base; tilting padded saddle seat; gas lever. Options include: lo...
Bariatric Wide Riser Recliner Chair
Riser recliner chair suitable for bariatric use. Comprises: three motors; independent back and leg rest control; metal frame; two-pillow backrest; det...
Bathampton Single Motor Tilt In Space Recliner
Single motor tilt in space recliner. Comprises: swivel braking castors; slide out footplate; flame retardant antimicrobial vinyl upholstery; seat and ...
Bedivere Dual Motor Tilt in Space Riser Recliner
Dual motor tilt in space riser recliner. Comprises: scroll arms; handset; magazine pocket. Options: range of fabrics.
Bedivere Single Motor Tilt In Space Riser Recliner
Comprises: reflex seating foam; handset with LED power indicator and removable key; magazine pocket (right side as standard). Options: designed to rec...
Bee
Multi-adjustable chair for children aged from 4 months to 4½ years. Comprises: back with standard pad; push handle; upper back pad; pelvic ...
Birillo Childs Wheeled Walker
Mobile sitting chair for children. Comprises: four buffered castors; adjustable height steel frame; padded plastic triangular seat; central pommel; fi...
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Buying equipment

There are several factors to consider when purchasing equipment.

Making complaints and reporting unsafe products

In most instances a complaint should initially be made to the supplier who provided you with the item. CAB has a range of guidelines on their website on making a complaint about poor service or faulty goods. These include complaining by phone, complaining in writing and template letters. CAB advice about making a complaint.
If you are not satisfied with the supplier's response then you may choose to complain to:

  • an ombudsman scheme
  • a regulator
  • an independent mediator
  • a trade association (if the supplier is a member of one)

 

Safety incidents involving medical devices can be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on the GOV UK website www.mhra.gov.uk or their Adverse incident centre hotline 020 3080 7080. The MHRA is the government agency responsible for ensuring that medical devices and medicines work and are acceptably safe. Their definition of 'Medical devices' includes devices used for assisting patients and users, thus many daily living aids such as bath lifts, commodes and walking sticks are medical devices. Any incident involving the safety of a medical device (including safety issues with its instructions for use) should be reported to the MHRA, especially if the incident contributed to, or could have caused injury, life-threatening illness or death.

Buying from a private person

Buying from a private person gives you fewer rights. You will only be able to claim against the seller if the product doesn't match its description or if the seller did not own it. Consequently, some firms occasionally pretend to be private sellers to avoid their legal responsibilities towards customers. If you suspect this has happened to you find out about your rights and what action to take on the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) website https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/ or call 0345 404 0506 to speak to the Citizen Advice consumer helpline.

Guarantee

The length of the manufacturer's guarantee does not limit any claim you may make to the seller as if a product develops a fault outside the guarantee period you can still claim against the seller if you can show that the fault was unreasonable at that period in the products life.

 

You may be asked whether you would like to purchase an extended warranty. Remember that your statutory rights exist, under the Sale of Goods Act, whether or not you choose to buy their warranty and whether or not the goods came with any guarantee. Manufacturers' guarantees are separate from the automatic rights you have against the seller, and may be more limited. For more information read the Citizens Advice Bureau guide to guarantees and warranties.

Maintenance and insurance

For large complex items, such as a stairlift, check what kind of maintenance contract the supplier offers.

Membership of trade associations

Some suppliers are members of a trade association. Many of these trade associations have a code of practice that governs their members' customer service, and thus may help to project you from unscrupulous selling practices. For example, some trade associations prohibit their members from contacting people uninvited to try and sell their products. They may also prohibit their members from using high pressure selling tactics such as offering a discount if you order that day, or phoning their manager while demonstrating the equipment to you to agree a 'special discount/deal'. Thus if you have a choice of suppliers for the product you wish to purchase we recommend you consider the suppliers who are members of trade association.

We record suppliers' membership of several trade associations (see a list of these trade associations) and our ratings give greater weighting to trade associations with codes of practice which are approved by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) (e.g. the British Healthcare Trade Association) or governed by an audit scheme which meets the requirements of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

We also record whether suppliers meet the ISO 9000 series of standards. These standards define a Quality System which certifies that formalised business processes are being applied, and thus may be another indicator to look for if you have a choice of suppliers.

VAT

You may be able to purchase equipment designed for use by disabled people without paying the VAT if you are 'chronically sick or disabled', and you are buying the item/s for your own personal or domestic use. For VAT purposes, a person is 'chronically sick or disabled' if they:

  • Have a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out everyday activities.
  • Have a condition that the medical profession treats as a chronic sickness (e.g. diabetes).
  • Are terminally ill.

 

So, you won't qualify if you're only temporarily disabled or incapacitated (e.g. if you have a broken leg).

Examples of products which are likely to qualify for VAT relief (if intended for the personal or domestic use of a chronically sick or disabled person) include:

 

  • wheelchairs
  • stairlifts
  • computer software or hardware designed specifically for disabled individuals
  • kettle tippers, tap turners, button hooks and similar gadgets or devices that are designed solely to make everyday tasks easier for disabled individuals
  • artificial limbs
  • vehicles that have been adapted for use by a wheelchair or stretcher user

Price

Price is important but, if we list more than one supplier, it is important to look for more than just the cheapest price. Check when the prices were last updated (this should be stated under each price). Consider whether:

  • Postage/delivery is included (if shopping by mail order or online)
  • Is the supplier a member of a trade association? (see below)
  • Is one supplier listing the price with VAT and another without VAT?
  • Check the suppliers' returns policies and any guarantees / warranties (see below).
  • For complex equipment that requires maintenance and/or servicing check what's included in the price and what the ongoing costs will be.

Get advice and an assessment

Experienced therapists or trusted assessors know a lot about products and will help you make sure the product is right for you now and will continue to be suitable in the future. 

 

You may be able to get an assessment and advice from social services. GOV.UK website
Alternatively you may choose to pay for a private occupational therapist. If you wish to request a private appointment with an occupational therapist then you can obtain details of local private occupational therapists from the 'College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section - Independent Practice' (COTSS-IP) website. www.cotss-ip.org.uk or phone their enquiry Line: 0845 129 7699.
You can check whether a therapist is state registered with the Health Care professions Council (HCPC) at www.hcpc-uk.org/audiences/

Try before you buy

You can find out about products and try them out, with independent advice at an Independent Living Centre (ILC). There are about 30 ILCs in the UK. Most do not sell products but they will be able to tell you where to buy them. We recommend you make an appointment before you visit

You could view equipment at an exhibition. They are a good opportunity to see what's available and meet the competing suppliers. The main exhibition of equipment is NAIDEX, held annually at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, and Glasgow. www.naidex.co.uk


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