Posture & Seating

Key Facts

  • It can take as little as twenty minutes for a pressure sore to develop.
  • 6 in 10 elderly people with a pressure sore die within a year.
  • 95% of pressure sores are preventable.

What is a pressure sore?

A pressure sore is an area of skin tissue that has become damaged because of pressure and/or force. A sore may develop over bony areas that are close to the skin or as a result of a sliding force known as sheer. The ulcer forms because the blood supply to the skin is reduced and it becomes starved of oxygen and nutrients. Sitting or lying in the same position for too long is a common cause. Some people, such as those with poor nutrition, bad circulation, or cognitive impairment are more susceptible.


Why Specialist Seating?

  • Facilitates purposeful and meaningful routine and activity – such as eating, reading, watching television.
  • Promotes effective physiological function – such as swallowing, circulation, breathing, digestion.
  • Improves mental health – Being bed bound or unable to sit out for a desired length of time, for example to engage in an activity, can have an impact on mental wellbeing.
  • Facilitates good posture – Effective seating has the ability to correct or support postural problems such as those below.


Examples of poor posture

A clinical trial completed in 2013 by the University of Ulster examined the effectiveness of the provision of specialist seating among residents of three nursing homes which provided staggering results among the participants:

  • A reduction in pressure ulcer incidence by 88%.
  • Increase in oxygen saturation levels by 95%.Increased functional ability.
  • Improved posture and a reduction in the development of postural deformities or sliding/falling from the chair.
  • Improvement in respiration, elimination, digestion and other physiological functions.
  • Improved quality of life and psychological wellbeing.
  • Improved communication and interaction
  • A significant reduction in expenditure on treatment of pressure ulcers.

What does a seating and postural assessment involve?

1. Postural assessment in current chair(s)
This is to determine current seating routine and effect of posture and positioning in areas such as breathing, pain, swallowing, skin breakdown and muscle/bone positioning.

2. Musculoskeletal assessment
This is done in the lying position to assess the range of movement and strength of all joints, taking into account any fixed deformities such as of the spine or weakness, for example from stroke. It also takes into account any flexible deformities such as muscle tightness due to a neurological condition or reduced range of movement from prolonged uncomfortable sitting. Both of which could have the potential for improvement with appropriate seating.

3: Functional mobility assessment:
This is to determine ability to reposition in sitting and get up from a chair to distribute weight and correct posture. This also involves an assessment of the client’s ability to remember information and instructions given about optimum pressure management e.g. repositioning in chair throughout the day. We will complete a formal assessment of cognitive function (such as memory) if necessary.

4: Assessment of sitting posture (unsupported)
This is essential to determine sitting balance and ability to maintain posture unsupported.

POSTURE4POSTURE5Examples of good posture

Able Ageing have additional qualifications in specialist seating and years of clinical experience in complex postural assessment and management. We are unbiased and have no affiliation to any particular seating company – any specialist seating we recommend is specialist seating needed for optimum health and wellbeing. We provide our clients with a professional report detailing any equipment needs identified.