Head Positioning: Matching product to client need, part 2: The Ultra

The Ultra. I use this rather modular approach to head positioning frequently, mostly because I work with wheelchair users who require significant head support to achieve and maintain as neutral a head position as possible.

The Ultra can include an occipital pad, suboccipital pad, and lateral pads. Each are very adjustable to match an individual’s needs.


 

Occipital Support
The Occipital Support is placed behind the client’s head, supporting the occiput. Even though I work quite a bit with younger children, I typically order a larger occipital pad – kid’s heads are large in proportion to their body and the larger pad has more surface area and is contoured to provide better contact with the head.

Suboccipital Support

The Suboccipital Support is placed right at the base of the skull and provides some key benefits. This pad can limit neck hyperextension when used in combination with an occipital pad. Due to the placement just under the suboccipital shelf, this surface actually provides some inferior support to the skull – key in helping many clients keep their head upright when head control is poor.

Lateral Support
The Ultra is often ordered with a bilateral swing away assembly mounted behind the occipital and/or suboccipital pads. This assembly can hold rods and pads to provide lateral support to the head. When correcting a flexible or reducible lateral trunk scoliosis, we often employ ‘3 point control’ – placing force and counterforce at 3 locations on either side of the trunk to achieve and maintain alignment. For example, a lateral thoracic support high on the trunk on the concave side, a lateral thoracic support lower on the trunk (at the apex of the curve) on the convex side and a pelvic lateral support on the convex side to prevent the client from scooting over and resuming the curvature. We can do the same thing to address lateral flexion in the neck.

To correct this young man’s lateral tendency, a suboccipital pad and left lateral pad (2 points of contact) were used in combination with a right lateral pad to achieve alignment. For another example of this strategy, read our Case Study on Hannah


 

A Great Switch Mount!
I often work with clients whose best switch site is by one side of their head. The lateral swing
away assembly works very well for this application. The lateral support pad is replaced with a switch mounting plate. Now the switch can be securely mounted, the hardware supports very precise placement in multiple angles to best match a client’s specific movements, and the switch swings out of the way when not in use. When the switch is swung back into position, it locks into a consistent placement – key for optimal switch control!

I hope this blog provided a good introduction to the Ultra head support. If you have a client who you think will benefit from this specific head support, contact your local Stealth Products
representative to arrange an evaluation and to help with choosing the optimal configuration. Not sure who your rep is?
Contact us and we will be happy to help!