Selecting the right wheelchair cushion can make all the difference in comfort, health and proper positioning in a wheelchair. Wheelchair cushions are used to reduce the risk of pressure sores while sitting over an extended period of tile in a wheelchair.
Wheelchair cushions can make all the difference with comfort, health, and proper positioning in a wheelchair. Because a user may need to be in the chair for extended periods of time, the best fit and design is essential for overall well-being and reduction of the risk of pressure sores. By first assessing the user’s specific seating needs, the right cushion choice is easier to select to maximize comfort.
Balance in the chair is easier to achieve with the proper cushion support. The contour, materials and orientation of the cushion in the wheelchair are important for greater safety for the user. The right cushion also reduces the pressure on the pelvic area, minimizing sores and assisting in healing should sores occur.
A wheelchair cushion should enable the user to have full range of motion in the upper trunk, torso, and arms while keeping the pelvis and lower trunk from injuries. For a user to have the flexibility to carry on daily activities, it is necessary for the cushion to enable access for propulsion, joystick access and daily activities.
Positioning in the wheelchair can be greatly improved with the appropriate cushion. The intent of the wheelchair cushion is to create a stable base of support for even muscle usage and spinal alignment. A cushion that is well-positioned also minimizes sores and pelvic pain so that the user can continue with activities.
Often, the wheelchair’s design will determine the shape and materials of the wheelchair cushion. Cushion material, along with the cover, is available in a variety of styles and textures. Because our clients come in a variety of shapes and sizes with varying mobility, we offer an assortment of cushions to best suit your needs.
Foam cushions have minimal maintenance while being the most versatile for wheelchair users. They can easily be contoured to fit the wheelchair frame and with lightweight materials being used, are now breathable to reduce heat buildup. The best foam cushions have layers of foam with different thickness to ensure the cushion maintains its shape. Foam cushions are generally budget-friendly so easy to replace as needed. Not only are there foam seat cushions available but also lumbar cushions to provide support to the spine and neck.
Gel wheelchair cushions are available in two types: Fluid gel and Polymer gel. Fluid gel cushions greatly reduce the risk of sores because they enable pelvic bones to be fully cushioned in the fluid. Gel is generally heavier than foam cushions and more durable. Fluid gel cushions that have pockets for the fluid are the most reliable as the pocket minimize thin areas in the cushion that could create sores and discomfort. Polymer gel cushions are thick and heavy, and reduce the risk of sores as the material shifts as the user moves. Polymer gel cushions also assist in cooling because they are not temperature sensitive. Whether you prefer fluid or polymer gel cushions, both are very comfortable and promote pressure distribution.
The exterior of the cushion is as important as the interior. The wheelchair cushion cover needs to be durable, breathable and washable. Sheepskin and jersey knit are very breathable and reduce moisture build-up which leads to friction and sores. Sheepskin covers are the most popular, as they are washable, and dryable to coordinate with the chair. Additionally, lanolin in the sheepskin provides additional protection from friction- and moisture-causing sores. Jersey knit covers can come in a variety of prints and patterns to suit the user’s style. They are also stretchy, adhering to the shape of the cushion and easy to clean.
A successful wheelchair cushion is one that maximizes comfort while minimizing the risk of instability, discomfort and pressure sores. With the options available, a wheelchair cushion is readily available for ensure the user maintains a high quality of life.
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