Safer chairs for elderly patients: design evaluation using electromyography and force measurement

Shabboo Valipoor, Debajyoti Pati, Matt S. Stock, Doug Bazuin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

A vast majority of patient fall events in hospitals involve the elderly. In inpatient care settings, despite the risk of fall, patients are encouraged to leave their bed, move around their room, and sit on their chair to progress in their healing. Despite the vital role of patient chair design in improving recovery, few studies have examined the ergonomic requirements of safe patient chairs. This study examined the impact of manipulating horizontal and vertical positions of armrests in a test chair on required physical effort during Stand-to-Sit-to-Stand (St-Si-St) transitions among 15 elderly women. Physical effort was measured using: (1) surface electromyography (sEMG); (2) force measurement by load cells; (3) video recording. Findings showed non-linear patterns of change in required physical effort due to changes in armrests’ height and distance. It was also found that minimum effort is associated with armrests higher and farther apart than those in typical patient chairs. Practitioner Summary: Safe chairs are essential for inpatient recovery, yet their ergonomic features are not investigated. Impact of changes in chair armrests on required physical effort was examined using electromyography, force measurement and video recording. Armrests higher and farther apart than those in typical patient chairs may be safer for elderly patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)902-912
Number of pages11
JournalErgonomics
Volume61
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 3 2018

Keywords

  • Patient chair
  • ergonomic seating
  • healthcare furniture design
  • patient fall
  • surface electromyography

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