Author: Chan, Chun-chung Walter
Title: Head support for the elderly
Year: 2000
Subject: Older people -- Care
Older people -- Rehabilitation
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Multi-disciplinary Studies
Jockey Club Rehabilitation Engineering Centre
Pages: xii, 61 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
Abstract: Commercial high-back geriatric armchairs are commonly used in homes for aged for proper positioning during feeding. Problems associated with feeding include choking and the heads of clients falling out of good feeding position. The aim of my study was to design an easy-to-make, low-cost head support to replace the make-shift supports often used by personal care workers in an attempt to better position the client for feeding. The proposed head support should improve head and neck alignment, and reduce choking induced by misalignment, thus facilitating feeding. Two types of head supports were constructed in this study and compared with the towel pillow, a roll-up towel commonly used by the personal care worker as head support for the elderly client who required proper head positioning for feeding. A simple head support with a concave flat surface as the plausible support for the stated aims and a custom-made head support as the ultimate for maintenance of good head and neck alignment. A custom-made head support was tailor-made for each subject while only one simple head support was made to see if this could fit all the elderly subjects. These two head supports were then evaluated in comparison with the towel pillow. Fifteen elderly subjects from an elderly home were recruited for this study. Evaluations included good head and neck alignment, occurrence of choking, and feeding efficiency. These evaluations were done from video tapings of client behaviour and feeding performance. Results indicated that relative to the towel pillow, both the custom-made head support and the simple head support provided similar benefits in all three evaluated parameters. The subjects were ambivalent about the comfort of the three types of head support. In conclusion, the simple head support was a good general solution for improving both head and neck alignment and feeding performance of the elderly who required head support for proper positioning and feeding. The single-size head support used functioned well for all subjects and was simple to make at low cost.

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