Q: How Do Wheelchair Pressure Relief Cushions Work
A: Pressure relief cushions for wheelchairs use materials and mechanisms such as air, foam, and gel to evenly distribute the pressure on someoneâs skin. Wheelchair pressure relief cushions spread the force on a personâs bony prominences evenly across the entire area of the seat. This lowers their risk for injury by allowing the skin to breathe.
Stages Of Pressure Ulcer Formation
If the blood supply to the skin is disrupted for more than two to three hours, bedsores will develop. At first, these ulcers are characterized by red and painful areas that gradually turn purple. If left untreated, the skin will break open, and these areas will become infected.
Unfortunately, pressure ulcers may deepen and progress to the muscles and bones. On the other hand, the healing process of these sores is very slow. In some cases, surgery is needed to speed up the recovery process.
The following areas are most at risk:
|In this stage, the ulcer is gone through deeper into the fat tissue.||
||Up to 4 months|
|4||A large wound is seen. At this stage, the muscles, bones, tendons, and joints may be involved. Infection is also a serious threat.||
||3 months to even years|
If the bottom of the ulcer is not visible and there is full-thickness tissue loss, the wound is not assigned a stage.
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Pros And Cons Of Gel Cushions For Wheelchair
Gel wheelchair cushions are usually designed to have vicious gel pouches that are attached to a high-density foam base thus, they are meant to provide exceptional pressure distribution allowing the cushion surface to conform to its user.
Their gel bladders make for body temperature regulation and enhance blood circulation.
If you are in need of wheelchair cushions with the following needs, then the gel wheelchair is for you.
- Regulation of body temperature and prevention of sweaty skin
- Enhanced posture and sitting stability
- Provision of exceptional pressure relief
- Requires low maintenance
However, gel wheelchair cushions are not ideal for those searching for cushions with the following characteristics.
- Not susceptible to ruptures
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When You Are In Bed
Use a foam mattress or one that is filled with gel or air. Place pads under your bottom to absorb wetness to help keep your skin dry.
Use a soft pillow or a piece of soft foam between parts of your body that press against each other or against your mattress.
When you are lying on your side, put a pillow or foam between your knees and ankles.
When you are lying on your back, put a pillow or foam:
- Under your heels. Or, place a pillow under your calves to lift up your heels, another way to relieve pressure on your heels.
- Under your tailbone area.
- Under your shoulders and shoulder blades.
- Under your elbows.
Other tips are:
- Do not put pillows under your knees. It puts pressure on your heels.
- Never drag yourself to change your position or get in or out of bed. Dragging causes skin breakdown. Get help if you need moving in bed or getting in or out of bed.
- If someone else moves you, they should lift you or use a draw sheet to move you.
- Change your position every 1 to 2 hours to keep the pressure off any one spot.
- Sheets and clothing should be dry and smooth, with no wrinkles.
- Remove any objects such as pins, pencils or pens, or coins from your bed.
- Do not raise the head of your bed to more than a 30 degree angle. Being flatter keeps your body from sliding down. Sliding may harm your skin.
- Check your skin often for any areas of skin breakdown.
Roho High Profile Wheelchair Cushion
With 4 inch cells, the Roho High Profile Wheelchair Cushionis the wheelchair cushion of choice for individuals who suffer from pressuresores or have a history of tissue breakdown. It utilizes a multi-cellular, air-filled design allowing adjustment to the unique contours of the individual user.
- Maximizes pressure distribution.
- Maximizes blood flow and nutrient exchange.
- Minimizes shock and impact.
- Capable of being adjusted over time to correct, counteract or fine tunea leaning or stability problem.
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The Downside Of Wheelchair Lateral Supports
If you consider lateral body supports, then its worth knowing that like with anything there are cons of them too.
- The hardware swing away release may get stubborn when the pad is under pressure.
- There is no adjustment for angling the padding in or out hence it is not possible to realize even contact of the body against the entire pad.
- Mounting the backrest in proper position may not be easy.
- If the user decides to change its position the wheelchair trunk lateral may no longer be correctly aligned.
- If the lateral supports are placed too low, then there may be no support, and it becomes ineffective.
- If lateral supports are set too high, they may affect the armpit and lead to other problems such as bronchial plexus injury and restricting movement of the arm and shoulder.
- The laterals add a complex look to the overall appearance of the wheelchair.
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Gel Or Memory Foam Surfaces
Disadvantages: Rebound, pre-contoured
Memory foam and gel cushions rebound over time, trying to get back to their original shape. That slow rebound actually creates uneven and high pressures. They are also often rigid, pre-contoured, and have a one-shape-fits-all contour. That rigidity locks you in one position and magnifies high pressure points.
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Pride Synergy Solution 1 Wheelchair Cushion
For the active wheelchair user, the Pride Solution Wheelchair Cushion has a contoured, wrap-and-lift base designed with high density, high resiliency polyurethane foam that redistributes weight away from areas vulnerable to skin breakdown. This, along with a twin-cell gel well, dual viscoelastic foam layers, 4-way stretch top fabric, pliable urethane fluid resistant inner liner and non-slip bottom, offers pressure management, positioning and long lasting comfort.
- Wrap around design keeps the user centered.
- Works with all seating solutions, including solid seat pans and sling seats.
- Removable and washable outer cover. Zips off.
- High-density base for stability. Twin-Cell gel area distributes weight.
Treatment Of Pressure Ulcers On The Buttocks
Pressure ulcers are a complex health problem whether they are on the buttocks or another area of the body. They can arise as a result many interrelated factors and they can be painful, debilitating and life threatening. Care and treatment of pressure ulcers may be provided by a multidisciplinary team made up of different disciplines of healthcare professionals.
This MDT may include:
- experienced medical and surgical experts
The specific treatment of a pressure ulcer can depend on the stage a pressure ulcer has reached.
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Immediate Pressure Sore Relief
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Stimulite Classic Wheelchair Cushion
The Stimulite Classic Wheelchair Cushion is a lightweight, maintenance-free wheelchair cushion that provides excellent pressure relief. It offers the added convenience of machine washability, making it idealfor the incontinent user. The multi-layered honeycomb provides internalcontouring for stability and uniform weight distribution.
- Multilayered honeycomb provides internal contouring for uniform load distribution.
- Side bolsters give added support.
- Lightweight–less than 3 pounds.
- Machine washable and dryer safe.
- Accommodates an optional incontinence pad.
- Total ventilation through the use of perforated honeycomb that circulates air and evaporates moisture.
- Breathable cover and side vents for complete ventilation.
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Total Comfort Seat Pad By Hermell Products Inc
Hermell Products is one of the highest rated providers in the country. If youre looking for the best seat cushion to prevent pressure sores, you should definitely not pass up this item. The product is one of the lightest on the market, and it has a dual semi-waterproof cover so it can be washed in any washer/dryer. Every Total Comfort seat pad has a Velcro hook that can adjust and secure itself to any sized chair. This is one of the few actual wheelchair pillows on the market, and it is filled with polyester fiber that renders it very durable and also makes it one of the best wheelchair cushions for bed sores out there.
If You Use A Wheelchair
Make sure your wheelchair is the right size for you.
- Have your provider or physical therapist check the fit once or twice a year.
- If you gain weight, ask your provider or physical therapist to check how you fit your wheelchair.
- If you feel pressure anywhere, have your provider or physical therapist check your wheelchair.
Sit on a foam or gel seat cushion that fits your wheelchair. Natural sheepskin pads are also helpful to reduce pressure on the skin. Do not sit on a donut-shaped cushions.
You or your caregiver should shift your weight in your wheelchair every 15 to 20 minutes. This will take pressure off certain areas and maintain blood flow:
- Lean to one side, then lean to the other side
If you transfer yourself , lift your body up with your arms. Do not drag yourself. If you are having trouble transferring into your wheelchair, ask a physical therapist to teach you the proper technique.
If your caregiver transfers you, make sure they know the proper way to move you.
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The Best Wheelchair Cushions For Pressure Sores
|FOMI Thick Premium All Gel Orthopedic Seat Cushion For Pressure Sores||ROHO Mosaic Cushion||Egg Crate Sculpted Foam Seat Cushion||Hermell Convoluted Wheelchair Cushion|
|18 x 20 x 1.5 inches||18 inches x 16.5 inches||18 x 16||17.5 inches x 15.5 inches x 3 inches||18 inches x 16 inches x 3 inches|
This wheelchair cushion is our number one choice for the best wheelchair cushion for pressure sores. It has a dual-chamber gel bladder that is in place to prevent gel migration and the dreaded bottom out effect a lot of other wheelchair cushions get.
We love how this cushion uses a waterproof nylon non-slip cover and velcro attached strap that easily attaches to the wheelchair frame to keep the cushion in place.
Not only is this a great cushion but the urethane-coated nylon cover is frame resistant, anti-mildew, and anti-microbial.
This also has a really nice weight capacity of 300 pounds. This is a great all-around wheelchair cushion that you will love.
Proudly made in the USA.
- Pressure-reducing dual gel bladder chambers
- Outer layer foam cushion
- Flame resistant, anti-microbial, and anti-mildew
- Non-slip bottom
- Not available in a wider side
Bottom-line: For those that want a great gel wheelchair seat cushion that is comfortable, keeps its form, and makes sitting in a wheelchair easier and for longer will want to take a look at this dual chamber cushion.
Wheelchair Cushion With Smart Capabilities Avoids Pressure Ulcers
Engineers at the University of Texas at Arlington have developed a new seat cushion for wheelchairs that works in an intelligent way to prevent the development of pressure ulcers. Decubitus ulcers come about when the same part of the body experiences applied pressure for long periods of time. There are cushions and mattresses made of groups of inflatable sections that regularly inflate and deflate, changing which parts of the body experience the pressure.
The UT Arlington team improved on this by including pressure sensors into their cushion that are able to create a pretty detailed map of where pressure has been applied, how much, and for how long. Taking this data into account, the cushion inflates and deflates sections so as to transfer the pressure to a different part from one that has been supporting the body for too long.
So far their prototype, which has already been patented, has been tried with healthy volunteers, demonstrating an ability to constantly monitor the pressure distribution and to offload the pressure when it lasts too long in one spot.
Certainly next steps will include getting the device toward commercialization and trying it with people that are forced to spend their days in a wheelchair.
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Purap Wheelchair For Pressure Sores
The PURAP comes in as our best wheelchair cushions for pressure sores. Clinically tested fluid 3D Flotation technology makes this an excellent choice to help reduce pain associated with sitting too long in a wheelchair. or any chair for that matter.
This type of cushion is known to help reduce and dissipate pressure and prevent skin shear.
This type of cushion is more effective in lowering pressure than other types of material like air, gel, and foam.
Did you know that sores can start to develop in as little as 4 to 6 hours after sitting stationary in one position? Clinical tests show that 3D flotation reduced peak pressure by 23 percent.
What is Fluid 3D Flotation Technology?
It has 3 layers for pressure relief. It is a patented fluid 3D flotation technology that uses a unique fluid. foam, and air.
The fluid layer is the layer closest to the body so it helps direct support for the boy. It also helps to dissipate pressure laterally away from the body.
The study was done by independent researchers at Stanford University Hospital.
How To Help Wheelchair Patients Prevent Pressure Ulcers
Anyone that spends a lot of time sitting in a wheelchair is at risk for developing pressure ulcers, often referred to as decubitus ulcers. There are a number of things you and your caregiver can do to prevent the formation of these debilitating sores caused by wheelchairs. This includes hiring a non-emergency medical transportation service that understands the proper techniques for transporting patients in and out of their wheelchair.
Pressure ulcers vary in appearance and severity, starting off as red, irritated skin to full thickness and tissue loss with exposed bone, muscles and tendons. These lesions are often referred to as decubitus ulcers because pressure is only one of many causes.
These lesions can be debilitating and put someone on bed rest for weeks or even months, not to mention the skin may never heal quite right. The older a patient is, the less likely for wounds to heal properly.
Pressure ulcers develop when your skin and soft tissues are pushed against a hard surface for prolonged periods of time. This consistent pressure reduces blood supply to the area, allowing a pressure ulcer to form.
You are at a greater risk for developing pressure ulcers if:
-You spend the majority of your day in a wheelchair or in bed.
-You spend prolonged periods of time in the same position.
-You are either underweight or overweight.
-You are not able to control your bladder or bowels.
-You regularly experience numbness in certain areas of your body.
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Protekt O2 Cushion By Proactive Medical
Proactive Medical is relatively new to the medical market, having only begun to introduce products in 2012. But dont let that fool you, as they can provide one of the best pressure sore cushions on the market. If youre looking for the best wheelchair cushion for pressure sores, this product can truly deliver. There are air adjustable cells that allow proper redistribution as well as protection for skin tissues. Their dual valve compartments are able to adapt to pelvic problems, sacral seating capabilities, and allow proper posture control. All Protekt O2 cushions also come with an easy to use hand pump, a 2-year warranty, and even a patch kit.
How To Combat Pressure Ulcers
Once you understand what causes a pressure sore, the next logical step is finding a way to make sure you avoid them. Sounds easy, doesnt it? Not so fast!! Once a sore or ulcer becomes advanced it can be significantly more difficult to treat so early intervention is crucial to avoid potential infection. Yes, many of these products are common sense and are readily available, but there are some you may not know about that are much more efficient in preventing pressure sores. They can include:
- Wheelchair Seat Cushions: This is the first and best place to start. When you are in a wheelchair your backside takes the brunt of your body weight. If you only use your wheelchair for short periods of time you may be able to get away with a foam pad, but those who spend a longer period of time in their chairs may benefit from a seat cushion that employs air bladders to disperse weight and minimize pressure points. These air cushions come in many different forms and sizes to benefit just about every user with limited mobility.
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Action Xact Lp2 Cushion
The Xact® LP2 allows a low seat to floor height for active users and moderate to high risk clients. Its unique construction floats the user in a pool of Akton® Polymer, cushioning critical pressure points for long lasting comfort and support.
The innovative cover minimizes high risk shear and prevents forward migration.
- Standard sizing 16″ x 16″ to 18″ x 18″
- Removable cover helps minimize the effects of shear and friction
- Multiple layers of foams and polymers for pressure relief and excellent immersion
- Back cane securement loops
- Cover orientation windows for proper positioning