Valerie's Story

  • Sorrento

Valerie, an 86-year-old female with dementia and limited mobility, spent the majority of her day with her arms crossed to stabilize herself in her chair

Valerie Before Transparent


  • 86-year-old female
  • Dementia
  • Limited mobility
  • Previous unable to reach out and feed herself or take a drink independently.
  • Valerie would no longer carry out this task.
  • Spent much of her day with her arms crossed.

Problems with old chair

  • The chair was too wide.
  • The back height was too high.
  • Armrests as they were too high and too far away from her body.
  • She tended to slump forward when she was sitting for long periods.
  • She would spend much of her day with her head slumped forward, which
  • significantly limited her communication, social interaction and visual field.

Caregiver Issues

Valerie did not communicate much throughout the day and due to the protective position of her hands and arms, she had difficulty completing small task such as drinking or eating. Valerie required assistance for these tasks, but it proved very difficult due the position of her head and her caregivers often felt worried that she would choke and her motivation for feed was quite poor. The caregivers also noted that when assisting Valerie to transfer from the chair would be quite stiff and her range of motion particularly of her uppers limbs, was restricted.

Postural Issues

  • Leaning to the right side was causing an imbalance in her weight distribution
  • More weight was being taken through the right side of her pelvis, increasing the risk of pressure injury in that area.
  • This could cause or attribute to a scoliotic deformation of the spine.
  • Valerie may have been experiencing difficulties breathing or digesting food.


After assessing Valerie's needs, it was deemed appropriate for her to trial a Seating Matters Sorrentoâ„¢ chair.

Postural Changes

Immediately a difference a Valerie's postural alignment was recorded. As a result of using tilt in space and changing the position of the centre of gravity. Valerie was able to:

  • Maintain an upright head position with little exertion or strain.
  • Use the armrests for support and positioning, which helped her to maintain a midline position of her trunk and head.
  • Evenly distribute her weight through both sides of her pelvis.

Caregiver Family Feedback

  • Valerie had become more communicative.
  • She was more alert and responsive throughout the day, particularly when feeding.
  • She was at much less risk of choking or aspiring.

Functional Changes

Over time and as she felt more secure, Valerie began to use the armrests and as a result of feeling much more secure and stabilised in her correctly adjusted chair, she no longer crossed or 'fixed' her arms and was able to reach out to drink a cup of tea and eat immediately.

Impact on Skin

  • The position of Valerie's pelvis was improved and there was a more even weight distribution throughout
  • She no longer leaned heavily to one side.
  • The risk of pain and developing a pressure injury was significantly reduced.

The tilt in space feature was used in this case, not only to improve comfort and posture but also to distribute pressure evenly throughout all contact areas. By tilting the chair, weight was redistributed from underneath Valerie's sacrum and ischial tuberosities (ITs) and spread throughout her back and other load bearing areas.

Social Interaction

She was able to attend social events taking place in the nursing home such as bingo, arts and crafts and music classes as the chair could be wheeled from room to room.

Being able to hold her head upright and look around the room without difficulty or strain had made a difference to her motivation and she became more interactive with caregivers and other residents throughout the home

It was also gratifying for those that looked after and cared for Valerie to be able to see her family when seating whereas before they would often only be able to see the top of her head, she has regained her social and personal identity.

For low mobility patients, and patients with extended stays in bed, the Sorrento is widely used in hospitals and rehabilitation units, clinically designed to reduce pressure injuries, prevent sliding, falls and safely increase early mobilization.

Next Steps

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