BACKGROUND

You are a community occupational therapist who received a referral to complete a home safety assessment for 78-year-old Mr. Haddad who had a recent cardiac event. Mr. Haddad has diabetes mellitus, uses a rollator walker in the community, and expressed that his “joints get stiff” when trying to get up from the couch. His wife shared that she occasionally needs to assist Mr. Haddad in getting up from the couch. She occasionally reminds him about his walker. She gets nervous helping him as she has poor balance and does not want either of them to fall. As a result, Mr. Haddad and his wife have asked you for recommendations about assistive devices that can make it easier for Mr. Haddad to get up from sitting into a standing position.

You think a power recliner lift chair would be useful. You are reminded about the 2022 College Response to the Coroner’s Report: Deaths from Power Recliner Lift Chairs document and wonder whether a power recliner lift chair would be safe for Mr. Haddad.


CONSIDERATIONS 

You review the document regarding the 2022 College Response to the Coroner’s Report: Deaths from Power Recliner Lift Chairs. You review the Reflection Questions for Home Assessment included in the document. 

You identified the following benefits for a power recliner lift chair in Mr. Haddad’s context:

  • Mr. Haddad occasionally requires cuing provided by his wife. 
  • There is sufficient space in Mr. Haddad’s living room for the chair to be fully reclined, or fully upright to safely dismount the chair.

You also identified the following risk:

  • Mr. Haddad uses his rollator walker in the house which could pose a safety risk if not placed properly beside the chair with brakes on for appropriate transfers.

OUTCOME

You explain the identified risks of using the chair and discuss the strategies that Mr. Haddad must consider to safely use the power recliner lift chair and mitigate these risks.

In the past, you recommended power lift chairs to clients without seeing the client use the chair. However, after reviewing the 2022 College Response to the Coroner’s Report: Deaths from Power Recliner Lift Chairs document, you now consider additional risks of using these chairs, including the presence of a mobility aid.

In response, you decide that it would be crucial to your role as an occupational therapist to ensure that Mr. Haddad learns how to properly use the chair in your presence to maximize his safety. 

You set up a time with Mr. Haddad to review the types of power recliner lift chairs available, and features and fit considerations.

After the chair is delivered, you schedule a follow up visit to teach Mr. Haddad how to safely transfer into and out of the chair, including how to use and position his walker safely with the chair. Mr. Haddad practices a few times and communicates a level of confidence in using the chair independently. 

You follow up with Mr. Haddad and find that he is happy with the new equipment and can independently transfer in and out of his power recliner lift chair. 

CONCLUSION

In some instances, when clients have functional barriers and use mobility aids, power recliner lift chairs can assist with ease of transfers.  If power recliner lift chairs are not used safely, they have been found to be related to serious injuries. Therefore, it is important to consider the abilities, environment and capacity of the client to use of this equipment safely when completing a home assessment. When prescribing equipment, the occupational therapist is expected to use their clinical reasoning to decide whether the equipment is safe for the client, given their context to optimize health and wellbeing. 

RESOURCES

CONTACT

If you have questions about the application of College Standards and resources, contact the Practice Resource Service: 1.800.890.6570/416.214.1177x240 or practice@coto.org.

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