The most important accessory in a wheelchair is the seating system or a wheelchair cushion. Cushions help in the prevention of pressure sores, increase body comfort and support.
The results are remarkable and we have a wide range of products to choose according to the individuals need. At the same time, this huge choice makes it that much difficult to decide on a particular wheelchair cushion.
physical condition and the way of life should determine the type of
cushion he / she needs. Factors like:
Type and extent of deformities
Duration of time spent in the wheelchair
Weight of the individual
ability to transfer Weight
A good wheelchair cushion should contour well into the shape of the buttocks and should distribute the persons weight evenly and should not create any pressure points. Any good cushion should not slip from the wheelchair. If the cushion slips when a person is sitting it could cause a lot of discomfort and undesirable consequences like sores, rashes etc. The wheelchair cushion should also be water resistant and shock resistant to make it comfortable for the user to travel in different terrain and weather conditions.
Wheelchair Cushions can be broadly divided into 3 types:
A foam cushion is basically made out of Polyurethane. Suits people with good sensation level, skin condition and weight transfer ability. Foam cushions should always retain their shape after the weight is removed. One can use this phenomenon to check the condition of the cushion and replace whenever necessary. Foam cushions are less expensive. The price range of foam cushions varies from $20 to $25.
As the name suggest, this wheelchair cushion is filled with gel on the sitting side. The other side could be foam. This gel has a good heat transfer property. Hence can keep the temperature under control and because of the fluidity, a gel cushion can spread the weight evenly. Pressure points are not created. Check for the fluid condition of the gel. When lumps or inconsistency is found in the gel, it is the time for replacement of the cushion.
Can be one large air pillow like cushion or could contain a number of small air cells (compartments). Has a good heat transfer and weight distribution property. Check for air leaks regularly. You can apply pressure with then palm of your hand and check for the right amount of air to be filled before sitting. If the air reduces after every usage or daily, the cushion has to be replaced.