Sitting in a wheelchair, navigating from place to place during the course of the day, not only needs to be flexible and convenient, but it needs to be comfortable. Customizing your mobile seating requires the usage of a wheelchair cushion.
But before this choice is made, it is recommended that you discuss the decision with a therapist or a doctor prior to your purchase, no matter if this will be your very first wheelchair cushion or a replacement for one that has run its course.
Here are the core five signs that you or someone you love might need a wheelchair cushion.
Body Comfort Matters
Wheelchair cushions are important because your comfort is important. Every task that someone has to take on has its own set of equipment.
Doctors that are on their feet all day need comfortable footwear. Construction workers that are creating condominiums need helmets, and when traveling in wheelchairs, it is very necessary to have a comfortable wheelchair cushion to prevent bodily anguish.
Do you find that you have difficulty remaining in the position with an upright posture when you are moving about in your wheelchair? You need a wheelchair that will make it easier for you to be able to talk to others and remain safe by reducing your risk of sliding completely out of your wheelchair altogether.
Wheelchair cushions can help prevent pressure sores which are painful and can be expensive if further treatment is needed. The right wheelchair cushion is a must-have if you use a wheelchair. Why does the right cushion matter?
Wheelchair cushions can either improve or impede your body’s functionality. Ideally, a wheelchair cushion should assist the user in being as comfortable and functional as they possibly can be.
But keep in mind that a wheelchair cushion that doesn’t give you the benefit of proper pressure relief when you spend significant time seated in a wheelchair can, unfortunately, lead to pressure sores that can break the skin and bring about serious infections.
Pick the Right Wheelchair Cushion Type
There are typically five different variations of wheelchair cushions, and having the wrong one can be an indicator that it is time to invest in your comfort by picking from:
- Gel cushions: consist of a gel pocket surrounded by a foam base that has the ability to take the shape of your body while remaining durable to support your posture. Gel wheelchair cushions also offer cooling effects to assist with your body heat and give better pressure distribution than you would find with foam cushions.
- Foam cushions: give users lightweight stability and structure by conforming to your body while typically being of a less high price.
- Air cushions are lightweight and have cells or chambers that are inflated with air, along with providing shock absorption and pressure relief.
- Combination “hybrid” wheelchair cushions are a combination of foam and/or elements of gel along with air.
- Honeycomb cushions: are made from thermoplastic, which is a material that can get softer when it is heated and can get harder again when it cools down. They are also constructed in a matrix pattern that resembles a bumble bee’s honeycomb and offers even weight distribution, shock absorption, and comfortable airflow.
In addition to choosing a well-constructed wheelchair cushion, it is also important to have one that is easy enough to keep clean by just placing the cover in a washing machine whenever necessary.
Stability and Support
Your individual needs for stability and support will determine the most effective wheelchair cushion choice for you.
In order to be certain that you are picking a cushion that offers proper stability and support, you can book an appointment with a seating clinic, an occupational therapist, or a physical therapist. Cross-reference the cushion you are looking to buy to make sure it matches your body’s needs.
Height and Weight
Maybe you are suffering from having a wheelchair cushion that is the wrong height or weight. It is time to level up and purchase a cushion that doesn’t impede your capability to fit your wheelchair properly underneath a desk or table.
Having the right cushion height enables you to transfer easily from your wheelchair to other pieces of furniture such as a sofa or your bed.
Also, when it comes to your wheelchair cushion’s weight, a heavier gel cushion can add more comfort.
Improve Skin Protection
If you are in need of a cushion that can make an intentional effort to protect your skin when you are spending long periods of time seated in a wheelchair, consider a gel-infused wheelchair cushion.
You need a comfy cushion that is going to give you pressure relief to prevent pressure ulcers.
Gel cushions come in handy because they are known for alleviating shear force, which can be damaging to the skin by causing the person to glide ahead in the chair.
Need for Breathability
Is your body temperature rising in your wheelchair to the point that you are sweating profusely, and the moisture is causing your skin to break down?
This is clearly a sign that it is time to get yourself a wheelchair cushion that can provide you with a healthy amount of airflow and breathability to prevent skin problems that stem from being seated for long periods of time.
For breathability, use a gel-infused wheelchair cushion; you won’t have to worry about your seat cushion absorbing your body heat and making you overly warm.
In closing, whether you only use a wheelchair on certain occasions, such as going to the doctor’s office and when leaving the house to run errands, or you occupy your wheelchair more regularly for the majority of your waking day, picking the ideal wheelchair is important to live a healthy, productive life.
Allow yourself the ability to maintain a balance between painless mobility and proper posture to prevent harmful medical conditions, such as pressure ulcers.
Purchase a wheelchair cushion based upon how it will suit your needs and support your medical situation in order to keep discomfort as far away as possible.