Buying or renting specialist seating is a big investment that affects you not only financially but also physically and emotionally. It’s therefore essential that you end up with the right product for your needs. That’s where a specialist seating assessment comes in.
We caught up with Annabell Crabtree, one of Premiere Healthcare’s specialist seating assessors, and Rory Keen, Premiere Healthcare’s new assessor, to take us through what’s involved in an in-person seating assessment. Here’s what they say:
What is involved in a specialist seating assessment?
Seating assessments can come from various sources. It can be a lead generated from our website, or the request can come from one of our trusted occupational therapists. Or it might be a request for a private patient who came from a care home and whose relatives have done some research online which has led them to us.
After the initial phone call, we ask a series of questions to gather more information so we have an idea of what seating to recommend. This will be things like access information, height, weight and medical information, what chair they currently use and how they are sitting in that chair.
Once we’ve narrowed down the choices, we take a van full of appropriate options to try. Because we supply specialist seating from a range of different companies this is a unique service we can offer, and it’s free. Even though we generally know which chair it’s going to be, it’s good to have options, so we tend to take out up to five different chairs.
How long does a seating assessment take?
The average seating assessment lasts at least an hour. When the person has had the opportunity to sit in the chair long enough to feel comfortable we spend time discussing all the extras that might be important to them as it’s these little things that can make a huge difference. We know how important it is to issue equipment quickly, so if someone wants to use our seating rental service, we’ll try to leave a chair on site following a visit. The same if it’s a private patient. For care homes or hospitals, we’ll issue a quote on site so they can send it off for funding straightaway.
Why are client visits part of your seating assessment?
By going and visiting people on site we see their environment and understand their needs better. For example, we can instantly see the size of chair that would work best in their space or we may discover that the person is left-handed so the controls need to be on the left side. We might realise that the person enjoys a bit of independence so needs a chair they can operate themselves, or we might see that the carer is a family member who is frail so can’t tilt a chair manually. When it comes to fabric options, we might find out the person is a Manchester United fan, so would prefer a red chair!
What training have you done to qualify as a seating assessor?
All the seating assessors at Premiere Healthcare have undertaken the Oxford Posture Management course and we’ve had training with all our manufacturers so we know the products really well. Some of us have over 10 years’ experience as seating assessors, and our new assessors spend at least six months going out with other assessors before going solo. Rory is the newest member of our seating assessor team and is currently on his induction phase – we look forward to introducing him to our occupational therapists and clients this month!
What happens after the seating assessment?
Once a client has chosen all the different features they want, we’ll try to give a price at the end of the assessment. We’ll then arrange a separate visit to come back and set up the chair for them.
It’s very important to us that we visit during an assessment because we don’t want to be a company that just provides a quote. When we visit in person we often realise there’s something else that’s needed, so it actually saves time and money for everyone in the long run. And ultimately, we want peace of mind that when we’ve shown a client a product, they’ll be happy with it.
Case Study with Premiere Healthcare’s new seating assessor, Rory Keen
Rory joined Premiere Healthcare as a new assessor in the summer and is still in his induction phase. Here he talks about his experience so far as a specialist seating assessor:
“I’ve enjoyed going into so many environments and seeing the difference you can make to people’s lives with a piece of equipment. Before this, I didn’t realise how important the right seating was. I’m getting to know the products and I can identify what someone might need just by seeing how someone is lying in bed or by reading their notes. If it says they need a certain degree of postural support, for example, I know what chairs to rule out.
“We had a case yesterday where we visited a lady who’s dementia came on quickly. We’d seen pictures of her previously and it was obvious she was very family-oriented. It was important to her husband that she was not stuck in bed and that he could get her out and about. In her notes it said that her legs were contracted. I knew the CareFlex HydroTilt chair would be one of the best options because it has a negative angle leg rest which would accommodate her legs. We took measurements for a bespoke foot rest cushion which means she can now sit out in the chair and her family can take her out and be with her in different rooms. That’s hugely rewarding.”
It’s easy to book a seating assessment with one of Premiere Healthcare’s seating assessors. For complete peace of mind, get in touch and make a date today!