Ultimate Wheelchair Cushion Guide

September 21, 2022, by Arturo Valdez

Today, I am going to share everything you need to know about wheelchair cushions. This will help you maximize their functionality and keep them in working order longer.

How to Order Your Cushion

When we are going to order a cushion, it is very important to know three measurements: width, depth, and height. These measurements must match the frame, base and/or fabric of the chair, not the user. There are cushions that allow growth for the user but not of the chair, so these measurements must match the chair. This prevents the cushion from hanging off the edge, being too small leaving gaps between the cushion, or in the case of cushion height, so that the user’s knees are resting on the cushion and their feet aren’t hanging. All of these can cause injuries and/or damage to the cushion.

How Does the Cushion Arrive?

When you order cushions from us, it will arrive in a box with a label showing the characteristics of the cushion that comes inside, both the model and the measurements, so you can confirm before opening.

Cushion Parts

The parts vary depending on the model of the cushion. There are several types of covers that can be stretch, micro climatic or some other variant. The cover needs to match the cushion. Basic cushions may have memory foam that returns to its original shape after getting off the cushion. In another case, a high-end cushion may come with the external incontinence cover for hygiene and bacteria control. It may also have a fluid insert to avoid pressure ulcers. In high-end cushions, there are typically layers of different colors. This tells us what the density of the material is. The combination of multiple layers gives the user greater stability.

Insert Types: Fluid, Air, and CRYO

The base can include fluid, air or CRYO Technology inserts. Each one has different functions, measurements, materials, and characteristics. It’s important to mention that when someone says “gel” when speaking about an insert, it is very different from “fluid”, which is a very different material. Fluid insert material is of a higher quality than gel that offers more benefits, greater comfort, more durability and adapts much better to the structure and autonomy of the user. Similarly, CRYO technology is a fluid insert, but with the added benefit of regulating temperature. Air inserts are typically recommended for certain cases and user needs.

Cushion Care

It may sound obvious but keep your cushion away from open flames. Also, stay away from solvents that are very aggressive for some materials. Take care with the users' clothing, zippers, buttons, or metal parts that can tear the covers, inserts or the base itself. If the user has no sensitivity in the hips, the user won’t realize that they may be damaging parts of the cushion. When a cushion is not tailored to the chair and is too large, it can rub against the wheels of the chair. This will deteriorate the cushion over time.

Cushion Cleaning

Your cushion will get dirty at some point over time. To clean it, separate all the parts by removing the covers and inserts. Don’t use aggressive solvents like chlorine or an aggressive detergent. This can damage the materials. We recommended using soap and water but covers can be put in the washing machine. We recommend you put them inside a bag because the closures can damage the cover or the washing machine. Do not dry your cushion at a high temperature. The best option is to let them air dry.

Inserts should be cleaned with soap and water to avoid damage.

For the bases of the cushions, it’s best to use only cold or lukewarm water with a water jet or hose. Don’t use chlorine or detergents and let it air dry. If any stain or odor persists, repeat the process until clean.

Cushion Durability

The manufacturer recommended lifespan of a cushion is two years but varies based on use. The reason for the two-year recommendation is because over time, a cushion will lose its original density and affect its function. After these two years, we recommend a new cushion. You may be tempted to hold onto an old cushion to save some money, but an old cushion can lead to bad positioning or pressure. A new cushion will provide a better quality of life with good positioning, comfort and above all, better quality of life.

Lic. Arturo Valdez Marketing

Wheelchair user with over 20 years experience in rehabilitation and integration of people with disabilities.

Location: Mexico City, Mexico
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