The Suffolk East group was asked by an occupational therapist to provide some head support for use when walking. Neck collars and chin supports are available by they tend to be very uncomfortable.
A support was not required when sitting back in a lounge chair or on a mobility scooter. In fact a support would probably hold the head too far back when sitting.
The client had already adapted a baseball cap with a strap to a waist belt but this was proving to be inadequate.
It was decided to see if a neck roll would give a better angle of pull. It was hoped this would result in less webbing strap tension and therefore less pressure on the forehead. Initially a neck roll formed by a small rolled-up towel was tried and found to work well.
A travel pillow was modified by the client’s partner. The pillow had a zip to allow the cover to be removed for washing. This allowed the central part of the cushion’s filling to be replaced by some rolled-up towelling to make it firmer and with some foam over the top for comfort.
Two designs of support were tried. One utilised the ‘harness’ extracted from a builder’s hard hat while the other was made from webbing. Another option would have been to use a harness from a face visor. A towelling headband, as used in beauty salons, made wearing the harness option more comfortable. For the webbing version some closed-cell foam was used around the forehead part to give more comfort. It was considered that ordinary firm foam may compress too much but the closed-cell foam tends to be too firm. The foam is held in place by towelling with Velcro fastening so it can be removed for washing. This also allows the foam to be removed so a hat can be worn over the webbing.
To avoid the tendency of the back of the trousers being pulled up by the webbing strap, the head support was tried with the webbing going under the arms and around the chest instead. This was found to be unsatisfactory.
It should be noted that support prevents almost all rotation of the head.
Hard hat harness version
The use of a neck roll or modified travel cushion was found to be transformational: allowing our client to walk to shops and to go on country walks.