How the Huntington chair was designed
In the autumn of 2013 Manon van Kampen, Occupational Therapist at Huntington Expertise Centre Atlant, and Geurt van Engelen of Vemcare happened to meet at a symposium in Apeldoorn called "The Day of the Elderly".
They discussed the possibilities of Vemcare and started talking about difficulties with the current products available for the passive seating of Huntington clients.
Almost at once Vemcare indicated that they could develop a product that would meet the standards of the occupational therapists of Expertise Centre of Atlant Care Group. A further introduction followed at the location of ‘de Heemhof’ of Atlant.
Listing the requirements
During the inventory Mariska van Maanen, occupational therapist, was also involved.
In the Heemhof occupational therapists of the expertise centre introduced the experts of Vemcare to their residents with Huntington’s disease and they discussed the problems of passive sitting.
During the visit Vemcare soon found out what the problems of sitting are. The chairs that had been used till then were outdated. (Worn upholstery, brakes that did not work properly, etc.)
In addition, the occupational therapists and residents were dissatisfied with the quality and service of the newer products.
This proved to be a great challenge for Vemcare to work on an appropriate solution.
Trial prototype Huntington chair
Within 14 days after the meeting at the Heemhof, Mariska and Manon were invited to the factory to see the prototype of the newly developed Huntington Chair.
The first impression was very positive, Mariska and Manon said. They were pleasantly surprised with the development of the chair and the implementation of their list of requirements. The next step was important: "clients had to try the chair!"
The prototype was tried in two locations within the Centre of Atlant by different clients / residents and the nursing staff.
Afterwards followed a meeting to assess the prototype. The evaluation showed a preference for adjusting the backrest by means of a gas spring. Also the height of the armrest was not optimal ergonomically.
In addition, the space under the seat did not allow a mobile hoist to be placed under the chair. Another point of discussion was about the various types of upholstery.
After the inventory Vemcare chose a fabric with very high wear resistance, which was considered ideal for passive chairs for Huntington's patients.
Production Huntington chair
Before the final production would take place another try-out took place with the modified prototype. This final check had to make sure that the best possible chair was going to be made.
After the try-out the Expertise Centre decided to purchase two Vemcare Huntington Chairs with gas spring backrests and one fixed position chair. All three chairs had permanent imitation leather upholstery.
The Huntington Chairs were delivered by Vemcares’ staff. On this occasion we explain to the nursing staff the use and the settings of the seat. For us at Vemcare it was a great satisfaction to hear that the chair had a direct positive effect on a resident. Despite his speech difficulties, the man could make it very clear that he was most pleased with his new relaxing chair.
Meanwhile, the Huntington Chairs are being used to the complete satisfaction of the clients and the nursing staff.