Wheelchair cushions and pads
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Bengt Engström from Sweden, the capacity when it comes to good sitting in a wheelchair, gave an interview to SALJOL. There was a reason for that: Mr. Engström had discovered Extra - and was enthusiastic. So a contact was established and Bengt Engström gladly accepted the request for an interview. It was originally conducted in English and was translated for the magazine.
Mr. Engström, you are one of the most experienced experts on ergonomic sitting in a wheelchair. What made you decide to focus on this topic?
"When I discovered that many wheelchair users worldwide are sitting poorly, I simply had to find out why. I discovered large gaps in the knowledge of those responsible. That's why I decided to teach, to help wheelchair users to have a better life."
How long have you been working with concepts for sitting?
"My work began in 1986 with wheelchairs for the company Etac. In 1990 my wife Anita and I founded our company in order to concentrate on education and book writing on the subject of "Ergonomics - Seat and wheelchair adaptation".
Do you have general recommendations for wheelchair users?
"If you do not feel comfortable with your wheelchair, e.g. because you are sitting poorly or because you have mobility problems, you should ask for a better adaptation - or immediately get another wheelchair that better suits your needs.
Remember, there is nothing wrong with you! If you do not feel comfortable in your wheelchair or something is not working properly, the only reason is that there is something wrong with the wheelchair or it has been incorrectly adjusted.
How did you get the Extra seating system from SALJOL?
"I saw it on a wheelchair in the exhibition of a medical supply store in Germany and had to try it out right away because it looked good and seemed to be very comfortable."
They are quite positive about Extra. What are your main reasons?
"I like it when people who spend many hours in a wheelchair are comfortable. Because that is the key factor when it comes to long periods of sitting. I also like the fact that Extra fits many different wheelchairs, so many wheelchair users can benefit from this comfort solution.
At your last training sessions in Japan you showed and demonstrated Extra. How did the Japanese react? Do you see any differences to Europeans?
The people in Tokyo who have seen and tested Extra were very surprised that it is so comfortable and looks good. One person said that his wheelchair with Extra was like "business class"! A big difference between the Japanese and people in Europe is the height. Most older wheelchair users in Japan use wheelchairs with a seat width of 35-40 cm. Japanese wheelchairs are small compared to European ones."
As you know, Extra also has a number of accessories and additions, such as the seat and backrest heating and the stabilisation plate. What do you think of this?
"For slim wheelchair users who sit inactive for many hours, the heating can be a good choice, even indoors. And for outside it is a great solution to stay warm in cold weather. Because sitting still becomes even more uncomfortable when you are cold. Sensitive wheelchair users can now be outside more often thanks to this special way of staying warm.
The plate stabilises the seat. This is a great advantage for the body, as it is easier to maintain an upright sitting position. The only thing to be aware of is the higher pressure over time and the risk involved. On the other hand, the torso is easier to move on a stable seat, so the sitting pressure against the buttocks changes frequently."
You have justhe next phase of your career has begun - and now you're focusing on e-books and online seminars. How can our readers discover your knowledge?
"The easiest way is through our homepage: www.engstromconcept.com
After 28 years of teaching, I'm looking forward to working even harder to explain the importance of this topic. Over the years I have met thousands of people from many countries at my seminars. But that is not enough. If Anita and I concentrate on the internet now, it is because we hope to reach even more people worldwide!
Thank you very much for the interview, Mr. Engström.
"Thank you, it was my pleasure! I wish you much success with your great seating solution - for many users!"
(The interview with Mr Engström was conducted by Thomas Appel)
Here you will find further information on wheelchair upholstery .