Wheelchair seat cushions should provide a high-level of comfort, prevent bruising or sores that result from pressure points, keep you cool, and wick away moisture. The cushion or pad should reduce friction and absorb shock or vibration. There are a variety of wheelchair seat cushions from which to choose and each type offers distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Before purchasing, consult your doctor to determine the types of cushions that are optimal for you. When you are ready to buy, online retailers such as Mountainside Medical Equipment and Supplies make it easy to explore the different styles available. Also, medical supply and mobility stores typically stock a selection of seat cushions or can special order the type you need.
If possible, first try out different types of cushions to see which feel the best to you. Consider maintenance requirements, durability, and how long the cushion is expected to last before you need to replace it. The following is a list of the most popular types of wheelchair seat cushions.
Foam cushions are the most popular type of cushion or pad for mobility chairs. They are a good choice for individuals looking for a low maintenance, inexpensive, and lightweight seating surface. Some foam cushions can be custom-shaped for added comfort.
Wheelchair cushions made of foam have a tendency to compress easily. As a result, they wear out more quickly than other types of cushions and need to be replaced more often.
Gel seat cushions are typically constructed with a foam base and a gel layer. They offer excellent comfort and a good degree of support and flexibility. Although they absorb heat very easily, gel is not as effective at absorbing shock. Gel cushions are also heavier than other types of cushions and are prone to bottom out.
Air cushions are lightweight and designed to spread pressure evenly so that the skin’s pressure points get adequate relief. They also are good for lateral stability and absorbing shock. While durable, air cushions do require some maintenance. Most air cushions need to be regularly inflated in order to keep pressure properly balanced.
Honeycomb cushions are made from thermoplastic urethane, a material that provides excellent shock absorption and prevents users from bottoming out. These cushions are designed to evenly distribute weight and increase air flow to keep you cool and comfortable.
Honeycomb cushions typically cost more than other types of
wheelchair cushions and may lose some of their shock absorption
characteristics over time. For more information on the types of
wheelchair cushions and pads, click here.
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