Hannah's Story

Hannah a senior New Zealand occupational therapist says the SPEX seating range is “unsurpassed” when it comes to providing postural support for her physically challenged and disabled wheelchair-bound clients.

“The range of modifications and adjustments that are available make the products so versatile, particularly when it comes to providing lateral support and a contoured back.  I haven’t found the same degree of flexibility with any other standard product range.”

Hannah has worked with both adult and child clients and started using the SPEX product range, developed by Medifab, around 2008. “I loved using the products straight away and have been a fan ever since. I am now really familiar with the products which allow me to tailor solutions to my clients’ needs and capabilities and adjust the solutions as we go along to maintain effective seating and positioning.”

She says the products are well suited to the changing needs of children. “Children are constantly growing and developing so it’s vital we keep on top of their postural needs. One of the great things about working with children is that we can help to prevent deformities from developing or worsening if we can maintain good posture.”

The therapist often uses the SPEX Kidz range of growth adjustable cushions, backrests and postural accessories in conjunction with Medifab’s CareWave range of specialised positioning cushions, which offer support during sleep.

“It’s all part of our 24 hour care management. If we can hold a child in a good, aligned position while in bed and provide effective seating during the day, hopefully we can prevent deterioration of their skeletal system.” Hannah gives an example of one young patient whose scoliosis was “nipped in the bud” by offsetting his SPEX lateral support to correct his posture.

Another benefit of the SPEX lateral supports is the “swing-away” option that makes it easier for parents and carers to get hoist slings in place for manual handling of the patient. Whether working with adults or children, the therapist says her primary wheelchair seating and positioning goals are always to achieve good function and postural alignment. “Sometimes we have to compromise between function and posture, especially when optimising the ability of self-propelling clients while still maintaining the best possible postural support for them. However optimising a client’s function is always the aim of intervention.” The versatility of the SPEX products can be demonstrated by their use with one of her previous adult clients who wanted to regularly access his computer but couldn’t tolerate a standard seating set-up.

“We were able to provide him with an extra-wide contoured back to provide lateral support, with lateral pads between him and the arm rests on his wheelchair that he could take out himself when he was at the computer. Because he was on his own at home during the day while his wife was at work, this set up gave him a lot more freedom and independence.”

Hannah has also “mixed and matched” the adult and children’s SPEX seating ranges depending on her client’s size; and says she “loves” the new Hi-Contour Adjustable wheelchair cushion. “It allows me to get the client immersed further into the cushion giving them even more support.”

She is also full of praise for Medifab that offers “great service and good support”.

“They are also really open to feedback and will work with us to make something special for unique cases. Their SPEX Forum training and educational programs are also really useful for professional development and confirming we are using the products to their potential.”

With her already in-depth knowledge of the SPEX products, this highly experience occupational therapist says she is not afraid to push them to the limits.

“I’m very comfortable with this fantastic range of versatile products and not frightened to work creatively or to try anything with them if I think it will benefit my clients.”