Ergonomic Healthcare Chair Offers Optimal Comfort

Sep 09, 2016 at 02:19 pm by steve

Angela Howard with her OptimComfort ergonomic chairs.

An idea for a more comfortable and functional healthcare chair has become reality for Angela Howard, RN, CLCP, co-owner and president of OptimComfort™. The ergonomic chair provides immediate relief for those suffering from musculoskeletal and neurological disorders, and peace of mind for their caretakers.

Howard, a registered nurse and certified life care planner, has worked with many patients who are confined to a chair and she always worried about their comfort. She also cared for her aunt who had severe cerebral palsy, and she frequently had to lift her aunt from her chair. It was during that time that Howard began thinking of the medical chair that would change her life and the lives of many others.

"In my work as a nurse, I continued to lift my patients just as I had learned to lift my great aunt," she says. "Most of my patients suffered from severe musculoskeletal impairments, so the full weight of their bodies would often rest in my arms. I would often walk into a patient's home or hospital room to find them sitting in a slumped position."

While educating families on how to make patients more comfortable, her idea for the healthcare chair was born. "I wondered if a chair could be designed to support the trunk and core of the body. If so, it might alleviate some of these problems and help patients maintain a more proper body alignment and, in turn, provide more comfort," Howard says.

After explaining her idea to her friend, Judith DeShong, co-owner of OptimComfort, they searched to see if such a chair existed and found there were none, so they designed the chair themselves. They secured a patent for the custom design for the back of the chair and another for positioning aids that allow individuals with the most extreme disabilities the comfort of sitting in a standard piece of furniture instead of a wheelchair. Their product became the OptimComfort Medical Chair.

For patients, the chair provides better spine and body alignment and improved circulation. It also reduces stress on internal organs and the musculoskeletal system. The lift feature is a benefit to caregivers, and the safety, security and comfort of the chair gives them peace of mind. It also offers infinite positioning and reclines for comfortable sleeping.

DeShong points out that the chair back's custom design is the key to its comfort and stability. "The concave shape and customized lumbar support allows individuals to sit in a more upright position and helps alleviate pressure on the spine," she says. "It is the only chair on the market that does not use blown fiber. The OptimComfort chair sits on a solid-wood frame and is filled with dense poly foam that is cut on a contouring machine so it won't lose its shape. That foam is covered with the highest quality memory foam so it conforms to the body of each individual user."

The chair is available in two sizes to accommodate both regular to large bodies and to people under five feet. It comes in a number of standard and custom colors and fabrics. Not only are OptimComfort chairs sold to individuals, Howard says they are receiving orders from skilled nursing and assisted living facilities around the country. "Oncology centers, dialysis centers, memory units, sleep centers and hospitals are also amongst those who are also becoming acquainted with OptimComfort," she says.

As family members also experience the comfort of the chair, many have requested a "regular" model of the recliner for their dens. Howard and DeShong have responded with a new chair that has all the comforts and support but without the motorized lift feature. "We have also been told that the chair is perfect for feeding a baby," DeShong says, "so in a way it is designed for the 'circle of life.'"

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