There was so much excitement at ATSA around the Cura Contour chair, so this month’s…
In this Assistive Technology Update we provide a Comprehensive Guide to Choosing the Right Wheelchair Seat Cushion.
For wheelchair users, comfort and support are essential needs of daily life. One of the most crucial components contributing to overall comfort is the wheelchair seat cushion. A correctly prescribed cushion can help prevent pressure sores, improve posture, and enhance overall health and well-being. However, with numerous options available, selecting the right wheelchair seat cushion can be challenging.
1. Pressure Distribution
Pressure redistribution is a critical factor when selecting a wheelchair seat cushion. The cushion should effectively distribute your weight and minimize pressure points, therefore reducing the risk of developing pressure sores. Look for cushions with features like foam or gel inserts, air cells, or memory foam, which offer excellent pressure care.. Above all, a cushion must be selected with consideration to your individual needs.
2. Cushion Materials
- Foam Cushions: Foam cushions provide comfort and support and are now available in a vast range of different shapes, sizes and designs. The two main categories in foam cushions are ones with the one type of foam, and composite cushions with up to 6 different types of foam to optimise support and pressure care. Foam cushions are normally the lightest and least expensive of all cushions.
- Gel Cushions: Gel cushions excel in pressure redistribution, heat transfer and comfort. They adapt to the body’s contours and provide a cooling effect, making them suitable for individuals who are prone to overheating or which increases the risk of pressure sores. Gel cushions tend to be heavy and are rated as medium to high for pressure care.
- Air Cushions: Air cushions are the ultimate for pressure care. They utilize air-filled cells that optimise pressure distribution and are often prescribed for clients with pressure sores. Maintenance of correct air pressure in the cushion is critical, and they traditionally offer minimal postural support meaning they should only be prescribed where this level of pressure care is required.
- Hybrid Cushions: Hybrid cushions combine multiple materials, such as foam, gel, and air to provide a well-rounded solution. They offer a combination of stability, pressure relief, and customization and are the emerging future of high-needs cushions.
3. Cushion Shape & Size
Wheelchair seat cushions come in various shapes and sizes, and selecting the right one is crucial for safety and comfort. Consider the dimensions of the wheelchair seat section along with body measurements when choosing a cushion. An over or under-sized cushion will cause discomfort, reduce stability, and likely lead to pressure care issues.
4. Postural Support
Maintaining a correct posture is essential for wheelchair users to prevent back pain and promote overall comfort. Look for seat cushions that provide adequate postural support. Some cushions feature contoured designs or include additional support elements such as pommels or lateral thigh supports.
5. Durability & Maintenance
Wheelchair seat cushions undergo regular wear and tear, so it’s helpful to choose a cushion that is durable and easy to maintain. Consider factors such as the cushion’s cover material – covers that are breathable, moisture-wicking, and easy to clean are desirable. Additionally, check if the cushion has an inner water-resistant or waterproof cover, as this helps with the cushion’s longevity and can be beneficial for individuals who may require additional protection.
6. Mobility & Lifestyle
Mobility needs and lifestyle should also influence your cushion choice. If you spend extended periods in your wheelchair, a cushion that offers pressure relief and comfort for prolonged sitting may be ideal. For active users who frequently transfer in and out of their wheelchairs, a lightweight/more portable cushion may be work better.
Options to Consider
Choosing the best wheelchair seat cushion is a personal decision that depends on various factors unique to each individual. By considering aspects such as pressure redistribution, cushion material, shape and size, postural support, durability, maintenance, and lifestyle factors, you can make an informed decision.
Remember to work with your therapist for a comprehensive assessment and their recommendations based on your specific needs. Urgoform has a large selection of wheelchair seat cushions across its range and work in partnership with clients and therapists to provide the optimal solution. Ultimately, the right wheelchair seat cushion will enhance your comfort, promote better posture, and contribute to an improved quality of life.
Explore our wide range of Wheelchair Seating Options.
Book a Cushion Trial Today
To discuss the most suitable cushion or to book a trial, call our Specialist Consultants on 1300 369 096 or send us an email.