FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are the best types of cushions for wheelchairs?
The best types of wheelchairs seat cushions have exceptionally resilient material that provides optimal skin protection and even pressure distribution for consistent comfort. However, there is no perfect cushion that suits everyone. The best type of wheelchair seat cushion for you depends on the cushion shape and material that best accommodates your medical condition.
Wheelchair cushions come in four shapes: wedged, pommel, anti-thrust, and saddle. Each shape helps fulfill your mobility and posture requirements. For example, if you have a back problem, you would most likely choose a wedge-shaped cushion because it helps reduce pelvic tilt by promoting good posture. Also, a wheelchair cushion that comfortably positions you in your chair can prevent skin breakdown.
Just as important, your choice of wheelchair cushion material can profoundly affect your comfort level and skin condition. You can choose between gel, foam, and air wheelchair cushions. Each has its unique group of benefits. For example, Gel seat cushions like the EquaGel Straight Comfort Cushion help prevent pressure sores by regulating your body temperatures and lowering moisture build-up. On the other hand, foam cushions have the best offloading capability with maximized immersion.
Does Medicare cover wheelchair cushions?
Medicare covers wheelchair cushions and other wheelchair accessories. But the program only qualifies wheelchair users of manual or power chairs with a sling or solid seating support. If your power wheelchair has a captain’s chair, Medicare will most likely deny your request for coverage unless you have special needs. Also, your cushion purchase must be medically necessary. As a result, you may need a prescription from your Medicare-approved doctor. For eligible wheelchair users, Medicare pays 80% of the cushion cost under Plan B.
If you want a bariatric wheelchair cushion, you must have pressure ulcers to get approval, or you must have had one in the past. Medicare will also approve coverage for a skin protectant cushion if you have a spinal cord injury, Cerebral palsy, Alzheimer’s disease, MS, and other serious chronic diseases.
How do I clean a wheelchair cushion?
All wheelchair cushions have machine washable covers. As a result, you can take the covers off the cushions and wash them like everyday laundry, usually on low heat. The material composition of each type of cushion requires unique consideration. Regardless, check for wear and tear, imperfections, or dirt before you wash the cushion. You can also remove any dirt or debris with a damp cloth.
If you have a gel-filled or foam cushion, you can easily clean it with a damp cloth and air dry it. But don’t submerge a foam cushion in water or use soap/bleach to clean it. On the other hand, you should fully submerge a sealed air cushion in a big sink or tub and wash it with mild detergent and a soft-bristled brush before letting it air dry.
What are the differences between a standard and bariatric wheelchair cushion?
Medical equipment companies make bariatric wheelchair cushions for users who weigh 250 lbs. or more. As a result, a bariatric (heavy-duty) wheelchair cushion is longer and wider than a standard wheelchair cushion. In addition, it handles body weights up to 750 pounds with high-density resilient air, gel, memory foam, or a mixture of materials to increase comfort, trunk stability, and posture support for heavier-than-usual wheelchair users.
Especially for users weighing 250 pounds or over, extended time in a wheelchair can cause pressure sores or worse. A standard cushion is not capable of solving this problem. But a bariatric cushion can support and evenly distribute immense weight without losing form.
What type of seat cushion for wheelchairs lasts the longest?
Provided it continues to hold air, the air wheelchair cushion, like a ROHO® HIGH PROFILE® Single Compartment Cushion, last longest in normal conditions. But most wheelchair cushions last between 2 to 4 years. Therefore, experts on mobility aids recommend changing your wheelchair cushions a minimum of every three years. Then, if your old cushion is still in good shape, you can use it as a backup.
What are the benefits of padding your wheelchair seat?
The primary benefit of wheelchair padding is it serves as a center point of wheelchair positioning. As a result, it promotes other benefits like comfort, ulcer prevention, shock absorption, posture alignment, and better user control. These benefits from a cushion like the Supracor Stimulates Contoured Wheelchair Cushion are especially beneficial for people with paralysis, sensation deficits, or a susceptibility to pressure ulcers.
MEDICAL ADVICE DISCLAIMER
The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images, charts, and any other material on this site, is intended for informational purposes only and does not take the place of medical guidance provided by your physician. No information on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult a qualified medical professional about your condition or circumstances before undertaking a new healthcare regimen.