Got My Back

Certitude has agreed to be part of a national steering group about good postural care. Gianluca Zucchelli, LD Service Manager, shares his learning about key successes and challenges on this area of support.

Seven years ago I had my first experience of how postural care can change someone’s life. I was Gabriel’s* key worker in West London.  Gabriel had cerebral palsy and a learning disability, and although he had a moulded wheelchair, he had nothing to help his positioning in bed. He could not rest well, and this impacted on his day to day life.  I contacted local experts to help improve his comfort and noticed how this impacted on his health and wellbeing, thanks to the skilful positioning of a bedding system to help his body get a better rest.  Since then, I have been endorsing good postural care as a key factor for improving people’s outcomes. On the downside, I felt frustrated by the slow pace of postural care implementation, as I could see many others could benefit from a new approach.

A few weeks ago I attended an event that is building the foundations for a significant change. The event was a national conference in Birmingham, “Got my Back”. It was promoted by Changing Our Lives, a co-produced charity devoted to disabled people’s inclusion. The conference was a great opportunity to share good practice and galvanise a movement for large scale implementation of good postural care. The debate was all around improving quality and expectation of life for individuals who are challenged by postural issues.

Hearing excellent examples of good practice – in particular from Scotland – inspired David Harling, Learning Disability Lead in the Nursing Directorate for NHS Improvement, to express his commitment to support a postural care strategy for England. Conference members agreed to launch a national steering group to inspire and support a consistent implementation of good postural care for everyone. Key organisations and people will contribute to this national group; Certitude has agreed to be an active part of this exciting journey.

Key success points in postural care are: partnership work between families and professionals, and endorsement from government and funding authorities. The main challenge is that, so far, the benefits of postural care have been mainly backed on an anecdotic basis. Unfortunately backing from scientific evidence is still limited.
The conference participants agreed that this gap must be filled. They committed to facilitate information sharing beyond qualification barriers and co-operate with academic research. At the same time they recognised the relevance of promoting postural care awareness and also agreed on lobbying at all levels to create and maintain a postural care friendly culture within the funding authorities, the government and the health and social care professionals.

If you like to learn more about postural care, please access the following links:
Got My Back – Easy read information about postural care
Anna Marriott IHaL – Health inequalities and people with LD
Frances Cadzow PAMIS – The role of families
Jenny Whinnett PAMIS – A story to influence the future
ChrisHatton iHal – Postural care: what the research does (and doesn’t) tell us
Joel Bowpitt Royal Wolverhampton NHS – Cerebral palsy surveillance programme


*names altered