Podcast on technology applications in seating and mobility, June 2017
I listened to a podcast this month (June 2017) sponsored by Rehab Management. Elizabeth Cole the Director of Clinical Application for Permobile talked about cell phone or tablet apps used in seating and mobility.
Ms. Cole spoke about how there are now apps that people use to assist them with their seating regimens. For people who are able, these apps are meant to remind them: when to perform a pressure lift, go into a tilt, how far to tilt and when to weight shift. Also, there are apps to allow therapists to remotely monitor their clients to see if they have weight shifted, pressure lifted or tilted often enough and long enough throughout the day.
There are several different apps to remind people to do everything an Aquila cushion does for you automatically; no iPhone, tablet, android or blue tooth required.
Elizabeth Cole then talked about the “technology” of the Smart Check. The Smart Check is an aftermarket device that you connect to your ROHO static air cushion that is supposed to tell you whether there is enough air in your cushion. If you haven’t heard about the Smart Check you aren’t missing much, in my opinion. Of course, I have purchased and used the Smart Check and found the device to be very unreliable. If you ask me, an alarm system would have been smarter technology in the world of technological advances. Why doesn’t the ROHO have an alarm for air loss? It is a rubber air cushion and air can leak out of the tiniest of spaces leaving the end user totally unprotected.
Elizabeth Cole stated in her podcast that the Smart Check was a great piece of “technology”. She said a few things that caught my attention. “Maybe they (the end user) don’t have the physical capability to adjust the cushion or check the inflation level themselves or maybe they aren’t entirely confident in their caregiver to do this either correctly or consistently”. She states, “anytime they want just attach the device to the cushion again and check to see if the cushion has the right amount of air”. Ms. Cole says the Smart Check “not only takes the guess work out but provides real time feedback to assure them that they still have the correct amount of air”.
There are so many things wrong with these statements. The end user cannot put air in the cushion themselves yet they can use the Smart Check? Just attach it anytime of the day to see if their ROHO still has the correct amount of air in it. If they can’t put air in their cushion in the first place how are they going to use the Smart Check to see it there is still air in their cushion and adjust accordingly? Furthermore, if they cannot trust their caregiver to put the correct amount of air in the cushion that is also a huge concern. So, if you go out and about on your ROHO cushion do you take your pump and your Smart Check with you and check it every hour just to make sure with that “real time feedback” that they still have the same amount of air? That is very frightening to me, especially if this cushion is on a metal seat pan. What if you are not able to reattach this Smart Check, to take that corrective action, to use that great “technology” to get that real-time feedback and suddenly you realize you are on a flat cushion? Then what? Like I said, it makes a lot more sense to me to have an alarm that is permanently attached to the ROHO to tell the end users if they should spring a leak, not something that holds the end user accountable if and when they can reattach and hope for the best.
Is Ms. Cole hoping that people listening to this podcast didn’t really hear what she said or did she make a mistake in what she said? Is she banking on the fact that people don’t care about the information in this podcast? I am shocked by her lack of concern and care by suggesting that someone who is not physically able to put air in their cushion use the “great technology” of the smart check to monitor the amount of air in their cushion after a day, week or month as she put it. The smart check says you have to check your inflation level at least once a day, not after a day, week or month, Ms. Cole.
ROHO knows of the danger of a flat cushion because in their ad they state that 60,000 people die each year because of pressure ulcers, they should try and do something, but the smart check is not smart technology.
I understand technology and that there are applications out there that are of immense help to people. But an app that tells people when to weight shift and tilt? I mean maybe, if you can and if you want that. However, my point is not everyone can perform weight shifts, not everyone is in a position or environment in their day to do a weight shift and/or tilt. Not every person has the physical ability to do a weight shift and not every chair has the tilt function.
I also think that people are making things up to make money quite honestly, capitalizing on people by creating gimmicks that aren’t needed and more importantly, not effective.
There is absolutely no comparison between an Aquila alternating cushion that is programmed and built to offload under existing wounds and a simple static cushion. Aquila cushions are built by hand, one by one, for each individual and they have the safety features that static cushions do not have and they offer alternating therapy that static cushions never will.
Aquila cushions have internal air bladders that inflate and deflate simulating weight shifts automatically for you. They also have warnings for low battery and pressure but also bottom out protection with layers of foam. We offload under existing sores. No hand held “tire” pumps, simply turn the system on. You don’t need to be reminded with an alarm on your smart phone. Just turn your Aquila cushion system on and benefit from true technology. Aquila cushions change contact points up to 60 times an hour to interrupt the leading cause of pressure ulcers, constant unrelieved pressure.
Aquila was formed when Steve Kohlman’s father was sitting on a ROHO that went flat. He developed 2 large wounds that required surgery. Once seated on an Aquila cushion Mr. Paul Kohlman never required another cushion nor another surgery.
I will never stop encouraging people to do their research. I will continue to try and educate people to the danger of sitting on a cushion that could potentially go flat on a metal seat pan that does not have an alarm system to warn the end user of air loss. I will never stop trying to educate people on the number one cause of pressure ulcers which is constant unrelieved pressure.
So, if you want an app and can use an app…. great. But don’t rely on an app. Don’t rely on gimmicks. Rely on education and proven technology.