Why Elijah’s Hope is raising awareness of Postural Care

If you received and read the first Elijah’s Hope newsletter back in May 2013, you’ll have seen that we’re keen to promote the importance of postural care and have launched the Positive Deviance (PD) Initiative to further this work.

Why Postural Care Matters

People with limited movement are most at risk of developing body shape distortion because they often sit or lie in limited positions. Body shape distortion brings with it a staggering array of problems and health risks, such as muscle contractures, scoliosis, breathing problems, poor digestion, constipation, and stress and pressure on the internal organs, which can seriously affect their ability to function.

With good, consistent postural care using the right equipment and positioning techniques, it is possible to protect and restore body shape, alleviating many of these potential risks. In our experience, it’s never too early to start protecting a person’s posture and body shape.

Changing attitudes

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Part of our work through the PD Initiative will be to challenge the perception that body distortion is inevitable in someone with multiple disabilities or limited movement. With the right care, it doesn’t have to be a foregone conclusion.

At the moment, postural care is inconsistent across the UK. Some areas have better provision than others but even where services are good, there can be limitations such as the availability of postural care during the day but not at night.

We will be supporting work across the South West and further afield to teach people the right postural care. This means improving access to proper equipment, techniques and training, including effective therapeutic night-time positioning. Ultimately, our hope is that everyone with limited movement will have access to the postural care they need 24 hours a day in the very near future.

We will also be looking at the assets and resources within communities that haven’t been fully utilised or tapped. Our aim is to bring about sustainable behavioural and social change by identifying solutions already existing in the system and bringing them to the forefront of postural care.

Another aim of the PD Initiative is to bring together like-minded people to share their experiences of postural care and offer one-to-one peer support.

Good for postures and good for health services 

In the long-term, good postural care can prevent pain or assist with pain management. It can also significantly improve a person’s quality of life by preventing bed sores, breathing difficulties and some, if not all, of the health risks outlined above. The improvements in terms of the human costs, such as emotional and physical wellbeing, are immeasurable.

Of course, we must also look at the monetary costs of postural care. With the right equipment and treatment, there will be significant savings in terms of money spent by health services on treating the many problems caused by body shape distortion. It’s essential that we encourage health care providers to take this long view too.

Elijah’s First International Conference

On Thursday 23rd April and Friday 24th April 2015, we will be hosting Elijah’s First International Conference: The Living University of Postural Care. We are incredibly excited to have recently booked leading experts in postural care and body shape distortion from as far afield as America and Australia to speak at the conference. There will also be a number of workshops and exhibitors.

CIPOLD is the confidential enquiry into premature deaths of people with learning disabilities. Recommendation No 9 states that Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) must ensure they are commission ‘expert proactive Postural Care Support’.

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What does this mean?

Elijah’s First International Conference will showcase Postural Care success from Wakefield and around the world. It is directed at families and those who have postural care difficulties, orthopaedic surgeons, commissioners, nurses, therapists, case managers, and all who care for people with movement problems.

If you have any questions about postural care, including equipment, techniques, training and best practice, or you would like to know more about attending Elijah’s First International Conference; The Living University of Postural Care please feel free to call us 01275 269359. You can also find loads of useful information at: http://www.posturalcareskills.com/

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