The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions

Wheelchair cushions are an important part of the wheelchair and also a major aspect of patient care. Choosing the right wheelchair is very important to prevent any harm to the user. In this article, we talk about the importance of different types of wheelchair cushions and how they can help you. Wheelchairs have a number of different aspects that need to be taken care of while making sure that the person using the wheelchair stays away from any kind of discomfort or harm. Prolonged periods of sitting on the wheelchair have proven to be detrimental for the user in the long run as pressure sores, bone deformities, spinal cord injuries, etc become common among wheelchair users. Obviously there a number of factors that contribute to these conditions, but one of the main factors is the wheelchair cushion.

The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions

What Is A Wheelchair Cushion?

A wheelchair cushion is a simple cushion but designed with characteristics that are apt for wheelchairs. They are shaped according to the sizes of different wheelchairs and come in different height options. Different cushions have a different pressure sensitivity and are made from different materials. Each one ultimately serves the goal of providing comfort, preventing conditions like pressure sores, and correcting the posture of the user.

Types of Wheelchair Cushion

  • Foam Wheelchair Cushions - One of the oldest of the lot and one of the most cost effective, foam wheelchair cushions are completely made of foam and are popular because they provide proper support and comfort to users of all categories. One of the biggest disadvantages of foam cushions is that since they are made from a sponge like material, they tend to wear out faster than other types hence making them a little difficult to use over a long period of time
The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions
Action Products Xact Soft Cushion
 
AT Surgical Foam Invalid Ring Cushion
 
Curve Wheelchair Cushion With Comfort-Tek Cover

 

  • Air Flotation Wheelchair Cushions - Completely supported by air, these air floatation wheelchair cushions are relatively bouncier since the only support is air. They are good for people who do not have to move a lot in the wheelchair. Air flotation wheelchair cushions have a small disadvantage of leaking if excess pressure is exerted on them
The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions
Medline Aeroflow II Static Air Cushion
 
Drive Balanced Aire Adjustable Skin Protection Wheelchair Cushion ROHO Mosaic Air Cushion
 

 

  • Gel Wheelchair Cushions - Gel Wheelchair cushions have a gel padding on top of the foam cushion. They are generally recommended to people who have atrophied muscles and experience stiffness while sitting for prolonged periods on the wheelchair. A small disadvantage of these cushions is that there is a chance of punctures and tears which might result in leakage of the gel
The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions
Complete Medical Coccyx Gel Wheelchair Cushion With Fleece Top Graham Field Lumex Essentials Gel-Foam Cushion Essential Medical Deluxe Gel Cushion
 

 

  • Urethane Honeycomb Wheelchair Cushions - Also known as honeycomb wheelchair cushions rage in today’s wheelchair industry, these cushions are made in the shape of a honeycomb with small hexagonal pockets that create a strong support structure. They have nearly no disadvantages as they are made of urethane which is made to last
The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions
Urethane Honeycomb Wheelchair Cushions

 

  • Hybrid Wheelchair Cushions - Hybrid Wheelchair Cushions are made from more than one weight bearing materials and are commonly used for people who are paralytic, since they cannot control the pressure exerted from a part of their body
The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions
Skil-Care Visco Cushion Topper With Low Shear II Cover ROHO Hybrid Elite Dual Valve Wheelchair Cushion Skil-Care Econo Gel Pad
 

 

  • Pressure Reduction Cushions - Pressure Reduction Cushions are made to evenly distribute the weight of an individual and hence reduce the pressure on one part of the cushion. They are apt for people who would like to use the cushion for a long time
The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions
Hyalite Wheelchair Cushion With Comfort-Tek Cover Medline Support Pro Zero Elevation Wheelchair Foam Cushion Action Products Centurian Cushion
 

 

  • Bariatric Wheelchair Cushions - Bariatric Wheelchair Cushions are made from sturdier and more layered materials so as to support heavy weight and pressure. They do not wear out or tear easily and can go on for a number of years without wear and tear.
The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions The Importance of Wheelchair Cushions
Mason Medical First Position Titanium Bariatric Wheelchair Cushion with Nylon Cover Drive Gel U Bariatric Wheelchair Cushion With Nylon Cover

Graham-Field Lumex Bariatric Skin Protection Cushion

Types of Wheelchair Cushion Shapes

Wheelchair cushions come in a number of different shapes that are specifically built to work for or against on specific factor:

  • Wedge Cushion Shape - Offers a tilt in the pelvic region thus maintaining the shape of the lumbar region
  • Zero Elevation Cushion Shape - Utilizing a two density foam, they provide support for low risk patients
  • Saddle Cushion Shape - They align the lower body perfectly and also give ample of space for the pelvis to move
  • Anti-Thrust Cushion Shape - It mainly for people who have difficulties in maintaining posture
  • No Lean Cushion Shape - Provides adequate safety as it allows movement in all directions but prevents the user from leaning too much
  • Amputee Cushion Shape - These cushion shapes allow the user to keep their residual limb in shape

Why Are Wheelchair Cushions Important?

One of the major problems that is persistent with people who use wheelchairs is pressure sores. Pressure sores are injuries that affect the skin of the person when continuous pressure is applied to the skin, which increases heat and friction, thus damaging the skin. This also obstructs the blood flow causing inflammation and pain. Wheelchair cushions work primarily against pressure sores. They provide a breathable environment to the skin and also reduce the friction and heat between the skin and the wheelchair. This allows for a healthy blood flow. Doctors often recommend lifting the body for a few seconds every hour or two to let the skin relax itself. There are other minor problems associated with prolonged wheelchair use that include, pelvic injuries associated with pressure related problems, spinal cord deformities and injuries, and sometimes the change in the posture of the user.

Wheelchair cushions work towards three important things:

  • Reduce the pressure related injuries which include pressure sores, skin injuries, and skin tears
  • Improve the posture of a person by shaping the coccyx, the pelvic bone, and the lumbar region
  • Provides comfort to the user by allowing the skin to breathe and reducing the perspiration in the lower region of the body

Precautions One Should Take While Choosing Wheelchair Cushions

  • Always check the size and the type of the wheelchair in use while choosing the wheelchair cushion
  • Consult a medical professional so as to which wheelchair cushion will be appropriate for you
  • Never use a wheelchair cushion as a backrest as it might cause more problems related to posture and deformity
  • Check allergies to the cushion material before purchasing the cushion
     

Wheelchair cushions are an important part of the whole wheelchair experience and choosing the right one can ensure a safe and comfortable experience with the wheelchair.

 

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