Important Elements of Good Seating

Seat Height

Correct seat height should assist rising.

The higher the seat, the easier it is to get out of, but seat height should always be in proportion to lower leg length. Too high or too low a seat can cause the sitter to experience severe pressure problems and discomfort. If, after an appropriate seat height has been determined, the sitter still experiences difficulty rising from the chair then a manual or electric riser chair should be considered.

Seat Depth

The correct seat depth should eliminate the need for extra pillows or cushions.

If the seat is too deep the sitter will slide forward, losing posture and increasing localised pressure; if it is not deep enough, pressure will be concentrated on a smaller area of the body and not as well distributed.

On riser recliner chair, leg rest length is a very important part of seat depth measurement – heels should just roll over the edge of the leg rest pad.

Seat Width

The correct seat width should provide the sitter with a supported posture.

If the seat is too wide it can be difficult to maintain an optimum posture; if too narrow, the sitter may not be able to sit right back in the chair which would again limit postural support.

Back Height

The correct backrest height should support the back of the head when sitting or lying in the chair.

This is particularly important with riser recliner chairs when in a reclined position as the head will hang over the top of the backrest if the back is too low, causing the client to slide forward and adopt poor posture.

Armrest Height

The correct armrest height should allow the sitter’s arms to rest gently and naturally on the armrests with the shoulder girdle in a neutral position.

Chair arms that are too high will cause neck and shoulder pain; too low will cause drooping and dragging on the shoulders and make getting in and out of the chair more difficult.

Back Shape and Angle

The shape of the backrest should ideally contour the sitter’s back profile providing good lumbar and neck support. Personal preference will determine whether a very upright chair or a more reclined position is required.