How To Choose The Right Pressure Relief Cushion For A Wheelchair

Author: Nicholas Sutedja   Date Posted:5 November 2022 

How To Choose The Right Pressure Relief Cushion For A Wheelchair main image How To Choose The Right Pressure Relief Cushion For A Wheelchair image

Looking for a new wheelchair cushion? The shopping process might seem simple enough — find a cushion that fits your client’s wheelchair and feels comfortable to sit on! However, there’s actually a lot more you need to consider, whether this is your client’s first wheelchair cushion or their 10th replacement!

In our opinion, getting the right wheelchair cushion matters because your client’s comfort matters. Just like a worker who purchases comfortable shoes so that they can stand on their feet all day, your client needs a comfortable cushion to support them throughout the day. Most importantly, wheelchair cushions can help prevent pressure sores which can be very painful and expensive if further treatment is required.

Before making a purchase, you will need to consider the client’s condition and unique requirements. With this in mind, you may need recommendations and advice around brands, materials, thicknesses and more — and we’re here to help. To kickstart the shopping process, we’ve put together some basics for choosing a pressure relief cushion for a wheelchair.

What Do I need To Consider?

Woman in a wheelchair

There are several elements to consider when choosing a pressure relief cushion for a wheelchair. For example, you will need to consider the client’s skin condition and whether they are prone to pressure sores — if this is the case, you may need to opt for a cushion with a higher pressure relief rating. 

Here are a few elements that will ensure you purchase the most comfortable wheelchair cushion for your client: 

  • Postural support — How much support does the client need for proper positioning and alignment? Is the client at risk of muscle atrophy?
     
  • Skin condition — Consider whether the client is prone to pressure injuries or has fragile skin. This will narrow down the materials and cushion covers that are appropriate for your client.
     
  • Mobility — Will the client be sitting in the wheelchair for long periods of time? If they’re self-propelling, how often will they be moving in and out of the wheelchair?
     
  • Wheelchair setup — Consider your client’s height. Can their feet touch the ground? Can they move in and out of the wheelchair safely?
     
  • Weight — Consider the client’s weight and whether the cushion can be correctly adjusted. The correct cushion won’t bottom out but it will provide optimal stability and retain its shape. This is crucial for bariatric users who are at high risk of developing pressure injuries.

What Kind of Cushion Materials Are Available?

Foam

Vigour Standard Contour Cushion

Foam cushions are soft, spongy and lightweight, providing excellent comfort and mild pressure relief for improved sitting tolerance. Foam cushions are suitable for self-propelling wheelchair users or those who don’t suffer from skin integrity issues.

Foam cushions are also ideal for minimal to moderate positioning needs and come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses making them a reliable and popular choice.

Gel

Jay Fusion Gel Cushion

Gel cushions are bouncy but firm and durable, allowing the cushion to contour to your client’s body and retain its shape over time (i.e. all-day sitting comfort!). Gel doesn’t absorb moisture and naturally resists microbes such as bacteria, mould and mildew, making it the ideal cushion material for those with mild incontinence issues.

Air Cell

High Profile Single Compartment Cushion

Those with fragile skin will benefit from using air cell cushions as they offer exceptional pressure redistribution and protection against pressure injuries.

Normally a bulb inflator can be used to pump the cells with air to the user’s desired comfort level. Each individual cell acts as a spring that can be adjusted according to the user’s requirements — by shifting them independently with the movement of the user, the cells help to reduce friction against the skin.

Do I need A Cushion Cover?

Men having drinks

Wheelchair cushions always come with a cover but you may choose to buy extra covers so they can be washed regularly.

Cushion covers are designed to offer both therapeutic and aesthetic value. For one, a cushion cover should be breathable to avoid causing hot spots and skin breakdown and for those suffering from incontinence issues, we recommend a water-resistant cover or two-way stretch fabric so it’s easy to remove the cover and clean as necessary.

Shop Pressure Relief Cushions for Wheelchairs Online with Active Mobility

At Active Mobility, we stock the world’s best wheelchair cushions for pressure sores. From leading brands like SPEX, Jay and Equagel, you can rest assured knowing your skin and posture are safe from harm. Plus, we offer a wide range of wheelchairs from brands like Shoprider, Pride Mobility and Merits Australia.

Need a hand choosing the right equipment for your client’s needs? Contact us at (02) 9649 2111 or email sales@activemobility.com.au — we have a team of experts and occupational therapists on-hand to help find the best solution for your needs.

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