Most people have seen a riser recliner – a chair which helps people get on and off when they are unable to do so independently. These chairs are usually the last resort  – people buy them after they have tried and failed to raise the seat of their chair by using cushions or chair raisers (boxes or metal frames which are attached to the legs of the chair to make them higher).

Before choosing a riser recliner there are a number of things you need to consider and some vital information that you need to know. 

Mechanisms

There are two main types of mechanism:

Single function: as you lean back the chair lifts your legs up: in this chair you are unable to lift your legs up and stay sitting upright. There is only ‘up and down’ button on the control – this keeps it simple to use.

Some people purchase this type of chair as they need to elevate their legs while sitting i.e. to reduce leg swelling whilst watching the TV or eating – however this is a common mistake as these chairs force you to recline (and therefore you are unable to watch TV or eat).

Dual function: this chair allows you to control the legs and back rest independently of each other. The control panel is a bit more complex as there are more buttons but with this chair you are able to lift your

Lifting Function

Most chairs tilt forward when lifting you up and off the chair, however some chairs are able to lift your seat up without tilting it forward. This function of “lift only” is necessary for people who are at risk of sliding off the chair and onto the floor before they get the chance to stand up. Such users need the support of carers to transfer them off the seat.

Seat

If you struggle to sit upright in your seat (e.g. you tend to slide downwards or to lean to one side) then we recommend that you have your seat made to measure. This does not mean that you have to buy a bespoke seat; most respectable manufacturers can change the measurements of the seat to fit your body shape and stature. For example, some people have short legs and long trunks (or the other way round) – it is not just about your height and weight.

Measurements

For comfort and safety it is important to get these right:1.      Height of the seat (measured from the floor to the back of your knee) – a suitable height will ensure that you can put both feet flat on the floor when sitting. This is vital to ensure blood supply to your legs – preventing them from going numb and allowing you a good base when you stand up.

2.      Width of the seat (width of your pelvis) – a suitable width will enable you to use both armrests, without leaning to one side, and will spread your body weight evenly across both hips and across your pelvis.

3.      Depth of the seat (from the back of your knee to the back of the pelvis minus one inch) –  a suitable depth will ensure you are able to sit upright without putting pressure on the back of your knee or slouching (these positions put a lot of pressure on your pelvic bones).

Cushions and Other Accessories

Some people are at risk of developing pressure sores: those who struggle to change position when sitting; people who sit in their chair for long hours; people with problems in skin integrity; and the old and frail. If you have a history of pressure sores or are at risk of developing them it is extremely important to have the chair made to measure (see above), and to consider replacing the cushioning of the chair with a pressure-relief cushion, if at all possible.   This will reduce the risk of developing pressure sores on the heels of your feet, ankles, hips, pelvis, elbows and lower back.Some manufacturers are able to provide a variety of head rest and back rest cushions. These support your neck and upper body when sitting. The base of the chair can be covered with a waterproof fabric if the user has incontinence problems. Some manufacturers will provide cushioning for side support and provide accessories like removable trays.

Sleeping

There are special RRCs suitable for sleeping in during the night. Their design is specific for sleeping as they recline fully to a flat position. They are also suitable for sitting in during the day.

Conclusion

It is important that you consider all of the above information before purchasing a chair as this will ensure you have the right product and that it meets your needs in the long term. Give us a call if further advice is needed: 01799 588056.

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