Sitting on a wheelchair, especially without a wheelchair seat cushion for lengthy periods can put additional pressure onto an individual’s body, especially on the lower half. This may lead to sores on the bottom and numbness due to restricted blood circulation.
Particularly, in the elderly, atrophy of the muscles can be identified, which places extra pressure on the veins and the hip bone, as the natural sponginess that the muscles provide is no longer present. Shear force may also occur when seated on the wheelchair for long periods of time. This occurs when the user of the wheelchair gradually slides closer to the edge of the wheelchair seat while their skin does not move long with them and is pulled backwards.
A simple, yet remarkable solution to relieve all these painful occurrences is to purchase a wheelchair seat cushion, that is basically a cushion cut out to fit your wheelchair seat perfectly. It is an excellent thing to purchase to provide yourself with maximum comfort when using a wheelchair.
Another advantage of a wheelchair seat cushion is the stability that it provides to the spine. Once a wheelchair cushion is purchased all the pain experienced because of sores will be eliminated, allowing the user to sit up straight rather than slouching over from the constant pain. This, in turn, will improve posture and postpone any deformation that may be seen in the spine.
The only issue is that there are so many wheelchair seat cushion to choose from. Each differing in terms of size, thickness, depth and material. This massive variety may be daunting when it comes to purchasing the wheelchair cushion that will provide you with that ultimate comfort. There are also so many factors that will most definitely effect the wheelchair seat cushion you’re going to opt for.
First and foremost, it is good to know that not all wheelchair cushions will fit perfectly onto your wheelchair seat, as they come in all sorts of sizes, as does your wheelchair. So, dimensions should be the first aspect that you consider prior to purchasing.
The length of the back of your wheelchair seat and the footrests, along with the angle of your armrests are some of the factors to consider prior to purchasing, as your wheelchair seat cushion will affect your position within your seat.
Another aspect that we tend to ignore when purchasing a wheelchair seat cushion is the type of wheelchair you are using. For instance, if you’re wheelchair a self-propelled one it is important that you purchase a wheelchair seat cushion that is light in weight, so that you do not have to drag along the weight of your cushion besides your own.
Here are the two most popular wheelchair cushion types along with brief explanations as to how they are different from the other and how they will contribute to your wheelchair experience:
Wheelchair Seat Cushion Types
Foam cushions are unique as they remember the shape of your body, meaning that after you stand off and sit back on the wheelchair you will not feel the need to move about to find a comfortable spot. Although on the outside they may seem as though they are made of a single thick foam cut into a square, they are in fact made of several different materials that aid in remembering the shape of your bottom. They are amongst the cheapest of wheelchair cushions. However, a downside to them is that they wear very quickly, causing the foam to lose its spongy structure. Additionally, when the foam cushion loses its structure it will not be able to distribute your body weight evenly, and as a result you’ll be starting to notice pressure sores. So, they need to be replaced regularly.
The Roscoe Medical WCF-163 Foam Wheelchair Cushion by Roscoe Medical is a single example of a foam wheelchair cushion. It is designed in a remarkable way to take pressure off of the lower half of the body when seated. It also aids in stabilizing the spine for a better posture. The cushion is made of thick foam that takes the shape of your bottom once seated, providing ultimate comfort. The outer material of the cushion is made of waterproof nylon and can be removed for easy cleaning. The bottom half of the cushion is made of non-slip vinyl to ensure that you are firmly seated, without any risk of slippage. Its dimensions are: 16”x 16” x 3”.
- YOUR ULTIMATE FOAM CUSHION: Eliminate back pain and add support while sitting in your wheelchair, our wheelchair cushions are made for you. Our wheel chair cushions include memory foam for lasting support to improve posture and to provide pain relief.
- COMFORT AND STABILITY IS OUR PRIORITY: We designed this wheelchair seat cushion with your comfort AND safety in mind. Each chair pad boasts a non-slip vinyl bottom which keeps the cushion in place at all times. Never worry about your cushion sliding again
- CHOOSE THE RIGHT SIZE FOR YOU: There is no “one size fits all” cushion here. Never worry about sizing issues with this seat pad. Our cushion is not limited to just on wheelchair size. Other available sizes are available.
- EASY TO CLEAN: The zippered, waterproof, removable, nylon cover is machine washable for easy cleaning. Cushion is also designed to provide air circulation and breath-ability to keep you cool while you sit. Get one of our comfortable foam cushions today!
- GUARANTEED COMFORT AND RELIEF: With our wheelchair cushion, comfort is never an issue. Enjoy moving around without worry of pain and discomfort. Our foam wheelchair cushion was engineered to promote pain relief and support for the long haul.
Gel Wheelchair Cushions
These are especially ideal for individuals who are experiencing muscle atrophy due to old age. Like the foam wheelchair cushions they evenly distribute the weight of the user over the cushion, preventing pressure sores that are more likely to form when your body weight is concentrated on one particular area. Gel sacks are placed over a foam piece, and this gel pieces change structure according to the way that you are seated.
The Drive Medical 14886 Skin Protection Gel “E” wheelchair seat cushion by Drive Medical is an excellent example of a gel wheelchair cushion. Its whole design ensures that any pressure on the bottom half of your body is relieved to eliminate the risk of pressure sources and shear force. The top layer of the cushion is water resistant and breathable to prevent you from sweating on those long days when you are out on your wheelchair. The bottom half of the cushion is waterproof and is made of vinyl for resilience, promising to last you for a long time. It is able to carry a maximum weight capacity of 275lbs. Its dimensions are 18 inches in length, 16 inches in width and 3 inches in height.
- Pressure redistributing cushion designed to assist in the prevention, treatment and management of pressure ulcers
- Viscous gel bladder is encased in a fire retardent polyurethane foam shell and provides optimal pressure redistribution, support and comfort
- Top of cover is a urethane-coated nylon that is low-shear, vapor permeable and water-resistant. Fire Retardant polyurethane foam shell
- Base of cover is waterproof vinyl for durability.Product Dimensions: 18"(L) x 16"(W) x 3"(H). Weight Capacity-Up to 20 inch 275 pounds. 22 inch and up 500 pounds
- Removable and replaceable cover has water resistant "Top" and "Non-Slip" vinyl base. Meets flammability standard TB117
Overall, a wheelchair cushion is an important item to purchase if you are highly sociable and spend long days out, as it will ensure a comfortable, pressure-free ride.