• Birmingham Showroom 0121 275 3406
  • Bilston Showroom 01902 461044
  • Solihull Showroom 0121 275 3409

AMP - MARKET OVERVIEW: Rethinking custom seating

Tue, 20 Jun 2017


The industry is changing its perspective on custom and specialist seating if some in the market are to be believed. Leaders in the mobility sector and healthcare professionals are being urged to market their seating products as essential medical kit rather than luxury comfort items.

But as well as a change in attitude towards such products, suppliers have realised a change in the products themselves is needed to benefit the end-user and, by extension, reputability for dealers and retailers.

It is now widely accepted in the industry that each end-user’s requirements are different and that it is important to engineer flexible, multifunctional solutions that can be adapted. But thanks to increased communication between designers and Occupational Therapists (OTs), and the wider mobility network, there is now a growing understanding that as well as addressing conditional needs, custom seating must also meet the lifestyle needs of a user and fit into their environment.

According to Lisa Wardley, managing director at Birmingham-based Repose, there ought to be three central considerations when it comes to specialist seating: the end-user, the carer, and the purchasers and commissioners. “It is vital to think about the purchaser and ensure the longevity and usability of the chair,” explains Wardley. “For example, we have designed chairs with multiple users in mind — ones that can be adapted over time as a condition changes or to suit different users. Our pioneering Multi range helped to focus the market on the adaptability that can be included within a chair — with the introduction of optional pressure management seat and back cushion solutions.”

When it comes to end-users and their different requirements, dealers stand to benefit most if they can stock a range of specialist chairs for multiple needs. Kirton Healthcare is a company which is striving to bring variety to dealers so they can cater for any client who comes through the door. Its dynamic chairs are designed for those who have limited ability to make small changes in movement. Dynamic seating has a range of adjustments to tailor the chair to the user’s physical requirements to prevent the user becoming fixed in the same shape as the chair they are using.

Combining the appropriate functionality and features enables posture and body weight to be adjusted throughout the course of the day to prevent pressure build-up in isolated areas.

Meanwhile, Anthony Thresher, product manager for Electric Mobility’s Cosi Chair, believes that design and build quality remain just as important as the medical benefits offered by custom seating solutions. “As well as providing great design and comfort, there is an extensive choice of sizes and fabric