Wheelchair Cushions

Below is a list of Manufacturer questions and answers that will assist your in choosing the best Wheelchair cushion for your needs.

Questions and Answers

How to select the Proper Cushion

What factors should be considered when selecting a cushion?

Individual needs and abilities must be taken into consideration when selecting a wheelchair cushion.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER:

  • Degree of Mobility
  • Sensory Perception
  • Ability to Shift Weight
  • Skin Breakdown Risk
  • Cushion Size
  • Cushion Cover
  • Cushion Manageability
  • Seating Goals

Cushion size (width, depth, and thickness or height) can affect transfers, height of the seated position in the chair, height of the chair back, armrest positions, length of foot rests and the ability to propel. A cushion cover can protect against incontinence and perspiration by being fluid proof or fluid resistant. Covers may also be flame resistant. Slippery cover material will allow for easier transfers and likewise, those less slippery, may prevent a user from sliding around too easily. A removable and washable cover, handles, and lightweight cushion help make a cushion more manageable.

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What are the common cushion goals?

CUSHION GOALS:

  • Comfort
  • Protection
  • Positioning
Proper cushion posture

Ambulatory individuals have less protective and positioning needs and should seek a cushion providing comfort. Individuals with greater protective needs, due to loss of sensory perception or inability to reposition themselves, should select a cushion that redistributes pressure away from "at-risk" areas. Gel layers or inserts protect against pressure ulcers by allowing bony prominences to "sink" farther into the cushion. Contours also allow pressure to be distributed away from the bony areas.

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Positioning Considerations

Why are positioning cushions helpful?

Pelvic support is extremely important if skeletal deformities exist. Positioning cushions may either accommodate deformities or attempt to correct them. Positioning cushions may also help guard against formation or progression of deformities. Contours increase contact with the cushion surface to improve the distribution of pressure away from "at risk" areas.

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Where are positioning contours located?

POSITIONING CONTOURS:

Positioning Contours
The leg troughs and lateral/medial thigh supports keep legs properly aligned with the hips. The ischial relief area may contain a gel or fluid insert to relieve pressure away from the ischial tuberosities.
Pelvis Issues
Illustration of "Hammocking"

 

 

 

In order to prevent "hammocking", many cushions come with a positioning board which is inserted into the cushion or laid atop the seat.


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Common Cushion Materials

What material are cushions made from?

FOAM (open or Closed Cell)

Types:

  • Viscoelastic (Memory) Slow Recovery
  • Convoluted
  • Non-Deforming
  • Bonded (Multiple Densities)

 

Benefits:

  • Lightweight and flexible
  • Different levels of firmness exist to provide various degrees of support
  • Conforms for greater pressure and weight distribution

GEL (Fluid or Semi-Solid Form):


Types:

  • Viscoelastic Gel (Semi-Solid)
  • Viscous Fluid

Benefits:

  • Excellent Pressure Relief - Helps reduce pressure ulcer formation
  • Good Dissipater of Heat - Maintains constant dermal temperature to prevent sweating and irritation.
  • Great cushioning - Superior, long lasting seated comfort

Viscoelastic Foam

 

 


Convoluted Foam

 

 


Base Foam



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What cushion is best for my level of skin breakdown risk?

TYPE OF RISK ASSESSED RECOMMENEDED CUSHION
  1. NO IMMEDIATE RISK
    Individuals can ambulate but temporarily or occasionally use a wheelchair for easier mobility
  • ALL
    (Depending on Individual Preference)
  1. LOW RISK*
    Individuals uses a wheelchair for mobility but can transfer. Reduced ability to shift weight.
  • ALL
    (Depending on Individual Preference)
  1. MEDIUM RISK*
    Individuals uses a wheelchair for mobility but requires assistance to transfer. Reduced ability to shift weight.
  1. HIGH RISK*
    Individuals uses a wheelchair or geriatric chair. Greater reduced ability to transfer or shift weight. Red areas on skin and/or color changes in skin, notably over bony prominences, signal high risk.
   
*Medium to high risk patients should always consult a physician or rehabilitation specialist for the proper cushion for their indications.
   
Prostura® Wheelchair Cushions are not for use by persons unable to shift or transfer weight unless prescribed by the physician or rehabilitation specialist.


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