Seat Cushion Benefits
You and your client have decided on a suitable style of chair, job done right? No. The type of cushion you specify for the chair is one of the most important decisions about the chair you will make. So, what do you need to know?
Why is the cushion important?
When in a seated position the majority of your client’s bodyweight is supported through their buttocks and thighs. If your client can change their position in the chair and is deemed to have a low risk of pressure injury then this amount of pressure is unlikely to cause any issues. However, if this is not the case then you will be considering a pressure redistributing cushion as part of the seating solution.
Pressure cushions are provided with the primary purpose of assisting to manage the risk of pressure injury that comes with prolonged sitting. It is critical that you fully understand your clients risk level when it comes to pressure. Take a holistic approach to this, looking at the main factors that increase risk of pressure injury such as age (being over 70 increases risk), reduced mobility, paralysis, obesity, incontinence, poor diet, any medical condition affecting blood supply (such as diabetes, peripheral artery disease, kidney failure or heart failure) or affecting movement (such as MS or Parkinson’s).
Other considerations when choosing the cushion
Other important factors that you need to consider before finalising your cushion choice are:
Can your client move themselves in the chair to redistribute their body weight? How are they going to get out of the chair? Is this by themselves or with someone assisting? Will the cushion make moving around or getting out of the chair easier or more difficult?
Are they able to maintain a good sitting posture themselves? If not, what postural support is going to be provided? Will the cushion complement this postural support plan and be an integral part of it?
As part of your seating assessment you would have already taken specific measurements of your client to enable you to specify their seat dimensions. If you then place a cushion on top of the seat, sitting them higher up on the chair, it automatically becomes the wrong size them. Not to mention the risk of the cushion moving whilst the person is sitting on it or whilst transferring in and out of the chair. To ensure none of this happens, always insist on an integral cushion as a part of your seating specification.
Also make sure that whichever material you use for the cushion that it is then covered in a fabric that is multi-stretch, breathable, incontinence proof and can be cleaned appropriately.
And finally always remember that the cushion is one part of the seating system. The cushion should never be the only strategy in a pressure care plan, nor should the impact that a certain type of cushion has on posture, mobility and moving in and out of the chair be overlooked.
Once you’ve reviewed these various factors for your client you can finalise the type of cushion they require for their individual needs. The option you choose will depend on your client’s risk level and what you are aiming to achieve with the cushion. With the Repose range there is a wide range of seat cushions, as listed below, but remember all of them can usually be interchanged to take account of a client’s changing conditions:
Deluxe pocket sprung
Ultimate comfort at the heart of your chair, designed with individual high tensile steel coil springs in individual pockets, which give consistent support throughout the life of the chair and lasting shape to the seat cushion.
For standard seating, our softest foam cushion with high quality Reflex foam filler for gentle comfort.
For our standard seating, a cushion that provides a more supportive and firm seat with a high-quality filler from Reflex, the foam specialists.
For those who have good core stability and posture, are sitting for more than one hour at a time and require low to medium pressure relief combined with a high level of comfort. This cushion has different layers of high-density foam, offering a supportive seat base which allows the user’s bottom to be immersed into the cushion. It provides stability, a large surface area reducing pressure levels and a high level of personal comfort.
For those who have good posture and mobility but are seated for greater than one hour at a time and require pressure relief and supported comfort. This cushion has a high-density foam base which offers a supportive and firm seat base with a top layer of memory foam to allow immersion into the cushion, giving stability and a large surface area to reduce pressure levels.
The profile version of the Viscoform cushion provides a pommel, which can support those with weak trunk or lower limb muscles who are prone to sliding down and forward in their chair or for those with lower limbspasticity to help maintain hips in the abducted position to create a good seating position.
* not available on small
For those who have good posture and mobility but sit for long periods of time and require pressure relief and supported comfort. Recommended for people with limited muscle bulk or at risk of excessive weight loss. This cushion has a high-density foam which offers a supportive and firm seat base. The foam is topped with a fluid liquid gel in a soft silicone cover which provides a high level of pressure relief. The liquid gel helps to dissipate heat and constantly adapts to the user’s movement.
For those sitting for long periods with specific comfort issues such as a high risk of pressure sores. Gelacell has a unique cell matrix that distributes pressure across the contact area, as it contours and yields in response to weight redistribution. Gelacell absorbs body heat, reducing the risk of creating an environment that could increase pressure risks, the grid design also encourages air circulation. Gelacell is clinically tested and passes all dermatological tests for skin contact.
Maximum weight of user 127 kg (20 stone)
For those sitting for long periods with specific comfort issues such as a high risk of pressure sores. This cushion uses the latest medical grade silicone gel technology allowing pressure to be evenly distributed. The gel conforms to the shape of the body and equalises to body temperature. The gel cells allow air to flow easily and Coolform is totally odourless and hypoallergenic.
The profile version of the Coolform cushion provides a pommel, which can support those with weak trunk or lower limb muscles who are prone to sliding down and forward in their chair or for those with lower limbspasticity to help maintain hips in the abducted position to create a good seating position.
* not available on small
For those who currently have or who are at high risk of pressure sores. Users need to have good pelvic stability and core trunk strength to accommodate the air pressure changes. The Airform has three manual air cushions under a layer of memory foam. The cushion provides all the benefit of an air cushion without the sensation of alternating changes in air pressure.
Minimum weight of user 40 Kg (6 stone 4lbs).
Maximum weight of user 127 Kg (20 stone).
For those at very high risk of developing pressure sores or a history of sores where the highest priority is to prevent further pressure damage. The Dynaform cushion is a dynamic alternating air cushion, which constantly changes the air levels within its air cells to recreate the effect of normal body movements, which provides constant pressure redistribution to prevent pressure build up.
Minimum weight of user 40 Kg (6 stone 4lbs)
Maximum weight of user 121 Kg (19 stone)