Pressure injury prevention is a very important part of the entire treatment process to eliminate the chances of things going bad to worse. Any patient suffering from mobility issue and uses a wheelchair for that purpose is suggested to use wheelchair pressure relief cushions to prevent unusual and abnormal pressure at specific points. These cushions are designed for the people who are forced to sit on the wheelchairs for the longer period. Therefore, you must know about the facts about the claims made by the cushion manufacturers and what such cushions can and cannot really do.
Pressure injuries or sores are also called bedsores and pressure ulcers. These happen when there is a continuous unrelieved pressure to skin and tissue that are under the pelvic bones. Your constant body weight on the arteries creates pressure and restricts the blood flow due to constriction.
This condition is called capillary occlusion and results in pressure injury. Nutrients carried by the blood cannot reach the cells and they start to die. This condition is very common among wheelchair users.
The Effective Means to Avoid Injury
The most effective way to avoid pressure injuries is to relieve the constant pressure on the blood carrying arteries and veins. This can be done only by pressure lifts after every 20 minutes. This can be done using wheelchair pressure relief cushions. However, it is important to choose the right type of cushion that is available in different forms such as gel, foam and honeycomb. Few are available as combination cushions as well. It is important to ensure that the cushion creates the movement to relieve pressure to the skin and tissue.
If these cushions cannot create movement by itself then it cannot provide pressure relief. Therefore, the manufacturers design these wheelchair pressure relief cushions in a specific way so that it can automatically alternate by itself to simulate a pressure lift and provide pressure relief after every minute or half. It must be proactive and mimic pressure relief provided by actual pressure lifts so that the user does not need any direct action for desired results.
Choose the Right Cushion
There are a few common mistakes people make while choosing and using wheelchair pressure relief cushions. In most of the cases people do not know where the problem is, and they just buy any cushion and place it under the patient while missing out on the other aspects of the seat. Therefore, you must not focus on the cushion alone as that will not provide proper relief with equal distribution of weight and thereby increase the risk of the patient to get pressure injured.
When the body is not loaded properly on the cushion the surface area of the chair and the patient’s body is reduced. On the other hand, if it is loaded properly all parts of the body such as the feet, back, legs arms and head are in contact with the chair.
If specialist wheelchair pressure relief cushions are used in any ordinary armchair or sofa it might add pressure to the seated area as that will alter the fixed measurements of the chair. If the feet are not on the footplate, the pressure will move through the seat.
Postural support is another factor to consider for proper usage of wheelchair pressure relief cushions. If this cushion is stacked on an existing standard cushion it will reduce the effectiveness of arms. If the chair is too wide, then it will affect the head-rests and lateral supports making the patient unstable and unsupported by the chair.
Therefore, when you use these cushions make sure that the arms reach the arm-rest, feet are on the footplate and there is ample space for repositioning independently to shift weight when they feel uncomfortable.