A cooling wheelchair cushion or pad can make the critical difference in comfort and even health. The right cushion should meet a number of criteria. It should be porous enough to allow proper air circulation and needs to be constructed of material that is designed to wick moisture away from the body to keep you dry and cool.
as important, a wheelchair pad should provide adequate support and
distribute your weight evenly to relieve
pressure points and prevent skin or decubitus ulcers from developing.
The materials should inhibit the development of bacteria, as well.
There should be minimal friction between the pad and your clothing so to stop you from sliding in your chair, but still allow for easy transferring. It should fit your chair perfectly and stay in place during use. A number of pads come with tie straps to prevent cushion movement.
considering a purchase, find out the manufacturers estimated life
expectancy for the cushion and whom to contact if you notice the cushion
breaking down before it should have to be replaced. Also, check for cleaning recommendations and maintenance requirements to keep the cushion in top condition.
Foam Wheelchair Cushions
Foam is light and effectively helps absorb vibration and impact of rolling over bumps and rough terrain. Based on its density, it can offer good support and last a long time.
One of the complaints about foam is that it can get hot. It is recommended to sue a cushion cover with foam pads since they are known to break down when exposed to moisture and light.
Gel Wheelchair Cushions
Gel pads help users stay cool. They are often constructed with a base of foam to better contour to the body and enhance comfort.
They can absorb vibration but are not as good as foam for cushioning users from impact. They are easy to clean.
Air Wheelchair Cushions
The key to comfort and function with an air cushion is proper inflation. If you are considering this type of cushion, pay particular attention to the quality of the membrane and chambers that hold the air. An improperly inflated cushion (or one that leaks air) can cause pain.
Most air cushions offer good impact absorbtion and keep users cook and dry. They are easy to clean, as well.
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More on Wheelchair Cushions
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Mobility Chairs: A Primer
Types of Mobility Chairs
Wheelchair Sports Activities
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Portable Ramp Options