Heads First Case Study – Pauline

Pauline has Motor Neurone Disease and when we met her she had been searching for a more comfortable head support for quite some time. Because of the MND she has very weak neck muscles and she is unable to hold her head up very well and it tends to fall forwards. She uses a powered wheelchair which can vibrate and bounce during use.

Pauline is very knowledgeable about her needs and was able to tell us exactly what she would like to achieve. She wanted a comfortable support for her head, clearance for her ears so that hearing was not impeded and pressure injury risk was minimised, minimal visual impact (it was important that the focus was on the person rather than the headrest), and it should stabilize head position when she is tired and when using her electric wheelchair.

The results can be seen in the pictures. Pauline now has:-

  • Comfortable positioning with some correction
  • No pressure on her ears and hearing is not impaired by head support
  • Occipital support and slightly tapered neck support which lifts her head slightly (with some slight counterbalancing force with head side extensions bent to fit snugly at the temples)
  • A well-fitted orthotic-like support especially relevant during powered wheelchair use

Pauline's comment:
“I had been scanning the Internet for quite a while when I came across Matrix Seating by accident. I was quite excited when I saw the headrests which they had designed! I persuaded my local wheelchair Dept to purchase me one. With motor neurone disease there is no such thing as ‘ideal’, unfortunately; however, this headrest is as comfortable as I think I will ever get with all my neck problems. Not only am I happy with the headrest, but I'm very impressed with the customer services supplied by Matrix Seating and would recommend them to anyone. They seem to have designed headrests which will suit most patients, and even if not, they are more than happy to play with the design in order to try to make it suit”