Case study: How one piece of adaptive kit is benefitting the whole family
A simple bean bag from healthcare equipment supplier AAT has transformed family life for a Bostock family.
The AAT Chilli Bean vacuum posture cushion has been prescribed to four-year-old Daniel. Brain injured at birth, Daniel requires round-the-clock care support for his condition. He has cerebral palsy and a gastrostomy, his back arches, his legs do not bend, but his body exerts strong movement and his muscle pattern changes through the day.
The difficulty in finding a seat that provides the correct postural support and safety without compromising his gastrostomy site has meant until now he has either been in the same seat he has had since birth (now outgrown) or sat erect in his wheelchair.
A new occupational therapist (OT) to his case knew of the AAT Chilli Bean and suggested it may be the answer to Daniel’s daily seating requirements. AAT’s Technical Director Gareth Brown assessed Daniel and his support team and trained Daniel’s carers in the seat moulding process.
The Chilli Bean has become Daniels’ primary seat in the day. In essence a bean bag, Chilli Bean holds its shape by the attachment of a pump which sucks out all the air between the ‘beans’ so that they stay in the moulded contours. When the user requires a different configuration, however infinite or minute, a little air is allowed back in to enable the beans to move.
Chilli Bean is then reshaped as needed, and the pump attached and operated to fix the new mould. If required, the bean bag and user can be “mapped” to ensure no pressure points. There is no need for fixed cast moulds.
Constructed from a sophisticated air- and water-proof form of neoprene, Chilli Bean’s surface breathes but is waterproof; thus, it can be wiped clean and easily disinfected. It can also be easily shaped without pressure points and creases.
The concept means Daniel’s family and his care team can seat him in the Chilli Bean without any fastenings that could impinge on his gastrostomy site. As his muscle pattern changes during the day, the Chilli Bean can be minutely adjusted to ensure he remains correctly supported and positioned.
Daniel’s mum Jodie remarked: “It’s an amazing piece of kit. It’s the one piece of equipment Daniel has that really added value to his and our lives.
“It has had such a positive impact on the whole family, it gives us such freedom. We know Daniel is correctly and safely supported without restraint, we can adjust it ourselves as he needs.
“Because it’s basically a lightweight bean bag, we can move it round the house wherever we need, even into the garden. We can even have family movie nights: his brother will sit on the floor next to Daniel.”
Chilli Bean is part of AAT’s vacuum technology postural support range to address moderate to severe motor impairment. The options range from small cushions to mattresses and systems for water-based activity.
As part of AAT’s support for healthcare professionals, the supplier provides virtual or actual technical training, demonstrations, and free, no-obligation client assessments.