Wheelchair cushions are available in:
- Foam, multi-density Foam is the most basic kind of cushion, usually about 2" thick. These "basic" cushions are good for wheelchair users that are at low risk of developing pressure sores.
- Gel, usually a Gel pad or surface on top of a foam cushion. Gel-cushions are used for the prevention and treatment of skin breakdown.
- Air, used for wound therapy, stage 2 or higher pressure ulcers. These "Air" cushions, such as the ROHO, offer customizable support and are available in a variety of cushion types.
Top five issues for seated positioning:
Patient positioning is integral to both comfort and function. The seat cushion should provide a stable support base, offer safety to skeletal and muscular structures, and provide stability from which movement of trunk and limbs can originate.
- pressure management
The cushion surface must also assist in reducing the risk of tissue trauma. In the sitting position, the pelvis becomes the primary weight-bearing structure. There are many bony prominences on the surface of the pelvis; thus, there is an inherent risk of skin breakdown. Skin breakdown increases as clients display additional risk factors such as:
Of course wheelchair cushions are for comfort, but for some people they are a necessity and choosing the right cushion for the job is paramount. Pressure Ulcers must be avoided. It is not uncommon for a Stage III or IV pressure ulcer to cost as much as $20,000 in wound therapy.
- muscle atrophy
- lack of independent movement (weight shifting)
- heat and moisture buildup (incontinence)
- lack of sensation (reducing "cues" for position change, reduced circulation)
- repetitive movements causing shear forces
- poor nutrition
Stages of Pressure Sores:
- Stage I: A reddened area on the skin that, when pressed, is "non-blanchable" (does not turn white). This indicates that a pressure ulcer is starting to develop.
- Stage II: The skin blisters or forms an open sore. The area around the sore may be red and irritated.
- Stage III: The skin breakdown now looks like a crater where there is damage to the tissue below the skin.
- Stage IV: The pressure ulcer has become so deep that there is damage to the muscle and bone, and sometimes tendons and joints.
See full details on Pressure Ulcers, medical term: Decubitus ulcer
See more information on Wheelchair Cushion Types & Styles