When you come and see me at the wheelchair clinic to look at upgrading your wheelchair or ensuring your current seating system is meeting your needs – One of the first things we will do is a MAT assessment. MAT stands for The Mechanical Assessment Tool which is an important part of selecting a new seating system for you; as it helps me to determine a seating system that is the right shape and size in consideration of your functional capacity, postural needs, and pressure care needs.
What happens during a MAT assessment?
The MAT has 3 parts – in your current wheelchair, lying down and sitting on a firm surface (ideally a plinth). I will then complete a physical examination of the following:
- Joint Range of Motion
- Joint Flexibility
- Muscle Length
- Skeletal Alignment
I like to do the MAT assessment in the Geelong Neuro Centre as we have access to plinths which a nice firm surface that allows me to get an accurate idea of your bodies movement and range without being hidden by soft surfaces. But don’t worry if we have to do the assessment at your house – we will find a way to get the assessment done.
Some postural issues that may be detected in the MAT assessment. Source: Permobil
Why do I do the MAT?
The MAT assessment helps me identify and consider any postural asymmetries, reduced range of motion, contractures and muscle tone when selecting a new seating system for you to trial.
If these aspects are not identified or considered when selecting a seating system, it can result in a failed wheelchair script and a lengthy process to address issues that have been identify by chair user.
Why do you need the MAT?
The reason you need a MAT assessment when you are looking to upgrade your wheelchair or to review your current seating system is to:
- Make sure you are comfortable and pain free in your seating system
- Ensure you are in an optimal seating position
- Reduce your risk of developing a pressure injury
- Optimise your independence and function