Positioning and Seating with Wheelchair Cushions
Sitting on a wheelchair without cushions is like sleeping on a wooden board. It can certainly be done, but it’s definitely not good for you. Wheelchair seating systems are meant to allow the user to shift their weight so as to protect the areas of their bodies that are more susceptible to pressure ulcers. Pressure ulcers are also known as bed sores, but they don’t occur only as a consequence of lying supine for extended periods. They frequently affect people who are confined to wheelchairs too. The ischial tuberosities, coccyx, sacrum and greater trochanters are the body parts more prone to tissue breakdown when sitting down. The risk is even greater if the patient who is wheelchair-bound also has incontinence, arteriosclerosis, diabetes or neuropathy.
Most knowledge of wheelchair cushion positioning and seating was empirical before 1970, but the engineering and development of these aids have advanced tremendously ever since. Today we have wheelchair cushion manufacturing giants like Invacare. Invacare is the creators of models such as the SimplX GFR, the General Use Gel cushion, the Gel Supreme wheelchair seat, the Roho High Profile seat cushion, the Hugger Wheelchair Positioner, the Vectra, high and low profile cushion covers, and the Supra Visco back cushion. All of these Invacare products are available at Discount Medical Supplies (DMS).
DMS also has foam wheelchair cushions, invalid rings with cloth cover, bariatric foam cushions with nylon cover, coccyx seat cushions, water and gel-filled wheelchair cushions, back cushions, Centurian gel cushions, and many more related items available. All of these articles are effective at preventing pressure ulcers (which can lead to autonomic dysreflexia, bladder distension, osteomyelitis, pyarthroses, sepsis, amyloidosis, anemia, urethral fistula, gangrene, and in extreme cases to malignant transformation), but that’s not all they do either.
Wheelchair cushions, as well as proper positioning and seating, help the user to maintain a good posture. Poor posture is often linked to sustained immobile posture for long periods, such as sitting on a wheelchair. Poor posture can affect breathing, as the lungs are not able to contract and expand. As a result, the person doesn’t get enough oxygen. Spine misalignment isn’t irreversible, but as more time elapses, the unnatural position becomes the norm, and it gets harder and harder to correct. By using wheelchair cushions, the seating positioning will remain upright, sparing users more problems than they already have got.