We’ve been getting a lot of calls lately from medical professionals who administer sonograms. This is a high risk occupation for shoulder injuries, and these doctors and nurses are experiencing occupation ending RSI’s (Repetitive Strain Injuries). The shoulder pain in some cases is radiating down to the elbows and fingers, causing numbness and tingling throughout, as well as loss of grip. These are serious injuries, so I’m going to pack every keyword I can so that they find this blog posting and we can help them. The source of the problem lies not so much with the diagnostic imaging equipment but rather the postures that their current chairs and tables are forcing them into. The sonogram or ultrasound is usually performed by the patient lying on a bed or table and the sonographer reaching over to scan the body. Most ultrasound tables are not height adjustable, though more and more they are, and most ultrasound technicians are sitting in a standing desk chair with arms, and end up having to twist their torsos and extend their arms out awkwardly. It’s a terrible posture and is taking a severe toll.
Through our ergonomic assessments, we have had a lot of success helping these people by getting them into the Hag Capisco and the newer, lower priced molded Capisco Puls. The Capisco is made to sit higher than a standard desk chair and opens the hips to about a 120 degree angle or greater when seated high. This allows the sonographer to move closer to the patient, lessening the arm extension and minimizing the twisting of the torso. The Capisco gives great back support as well, as the saddle seat design helps to rotate the pelvis forward, enforcing a good lordosis, or lower back curve, and the funky looking back gets right into one’s lumbar area for positive support. The wing shaped arms allow for support when resting but don’t otherwise get in the way. Alternately, one can sit backward in the Capisco, leaning into the back and resting one’s arms on the wing armrests. Be sure to lock the back upright if you choose to sit backward!
The Hag Capisco comes with two optional gas lift ranges. The standard seat height ranges from 19” to 26”, and the tall gas lift takes the seat from 22 ½” to 31 ⅞”. The tall gas lift can have an optional footring or the unique Hag StepUp, which is a footrest platform that swings around the center post and gets out of the way when the chair is used at lower seat heights. Having said that, most of the sonogram professionals we’ve had try both the standard and tall versions have chosen the standard gas lift. This brings me to our Try A Chair program: in the Chicago metropolitan area, and some other urban areas around the country, we (or an associate) will bring you a chair to try at your place of work for a number of days with no payment or obligation. So when you order your chair, made to your specifications, you will know that it is the right answer for your team’s needs.
The next thing to consider is upholstery. In a medical setting we have two favorite polyurethane fabrics, Grade 2 Beeline and Grade 5 Silica.
Beeline is durable, rated at 500,000 double rubs, and has anti-microbial and anti-bacterial finish. It is made of 100% PVC-free polyurethane on the face with 30% polyester and 15% cotton backing. The fabric has some texture to it, which is good to help you to keep from sliding on the seat, thus maintaining good posture. It is cleanable with mild soap and water and is bleach cleanable, which is important in medical facilities.
Silica and the companion Silica Tech are more expensive, but are some of the newest high-tech fabrics on the market. Both are made of 100% PVC-free silica on the face, with 100% polyester backing. They are also very durable, rated at 365,000 and 270,000 double rubs respectively. They are cleanable with either water-based or solvent-based cleaners and are bleach cleanable as well. The Silica material has a bit of stickiness to it, keeping you in the char despite a smooth finish; Silica Tech has the same grip and adds a very small grid pattern, giving it some added texture. Both Silica’s are GREENGUARD certified for off-gassing.
Some hospitals require that chairs be compliant with CAL 133, a specific fire retardant treatment that wraps the foam in the Kevlar type material to slow the time for a fire to impact the chair’s foam. The Capisco, (but not the Capisco Puls), along with many of our other chairs, can be optioned to meet CAL 133.
Almost all clinical settings have hard floors, and the Capisco can be specified with either free-rolling hard floor casters or braking hard floor casters. Please be sure to let us know what you prefer.
The Capisco Puls is made of a hard polyurethane shell with a small padded cushion or an optional full padded seat cover. Our experience is that most people prefer the original Capisco, but the Puls is also a great option for a medical facility, especially with the full padded seat cushion which softens the feel of the seat.
I hope this primer was helpful. Please pass it on!