Seating Pressure Care
Ambassador offers a special seating pressure care for recliner chairs. This is achieved by Ambassador manufacturing a custom insert for a specific seat cushion for your individual seating needs. Oftentimes, this includes cushions commonly used in wheelchairs. But…where do you start?
There are hundreds of seating care options on the market, so how do you choose the one that’s right for you regarding your recliner chair needs. Foams, gels, water, air or a combination.
First, analyse your unique seating needs and relevant medical conditions
- Current and future mobility: Movement-wise, how do you spend your day? If you are living with a chronic condition that will expectedly make your daily mobility worse with time (i.e. Parkinson’s disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, ALS to name a few). Work this factor into the type of cushion you are willing to invest in in order to prevent skin breakdown and other future pressure-related complications.
- Daily sitting length: If you find yourself stagnant or sitting more often than not due to age, paralysis or deteriorating health, you may require custom pressure care and cushions that will provide constant seating support. And also preventing skin breakdown.
- Pressure-relieving techniques or aids: This includes folks who are considered bed-ridden and require a lot of help from others to pressure-relieve or rotate their seating position regularly. A good seating cushion route to explore would be materials and shapes that have built-in pressure relieving mechanisms to reduce your dependence on another living person for help.
- Skin condition: What is the state of your skin, particularly along your thighs, tailbone, and buttocks? If your doctor has already diagnosed you with pressure ulcers of any stage, then your risk for additional skin damage is infinitely higher (especially if your mobility is limited for an indefinite time frame). Using just any standard wheelchair cushion for mild seating discomfort will not be enough to prevent life-threatening skin breakdown.
- Hygiene and continence: With limited mobility comes prolonged sitting as well as the inability to manage your own perineal and buttocks hygiene. Lack of sanitation combined with skin breakdown leads to dangerous infections that can range from mild irritation to lengthy hospitalisation stays. You may need to research incontinence resistant seating fabrics such as Carrflex.
Research- make & material.
- After you and/or your caregivers have made an honest assessment of your current and future health status, explore cushions in a wide variety of material and shape:
- Cover fabric: Options are endless including nylon, cotton, plastic, polyester, and poly-material fabrics. Choose a fabric based on ease of cleaning, antimicrobial agents, life and wear, breathability, and friction (i.e. preventing sliding out of the chair). Stretchiness to reduce heating. Fabrics such as Carrflex could be considered.
- Cushion material: The actual substance of the cushion is available in typical and high-tech options including air-filled cells, gel, foam (i.e. egg crate, flat), memory foam, water and a combination of all or some of the below mentioned in consideration.
- Maintenance and equipment: Research what it takes to maintain the cushion and to slow down inevitable wear and tear. For example, air-cells (i.e. ROHO cushions) require manually pumping air regularly into the cushion, which takes up time and energy that the user may not have or need.
- Shape and contour: Not all cushions are flat squares. Expect to find donuts, circles, ovals, wedges, and cushions with additional cutouts (i.e. abductor or thigh separators) and tailbone gaps (i.e. usually made for back and sciatica pain relief).
- Match material to your needs.
Considerations for Seating Pressure Care
If you have limited knowledge about what type of cushion material would best suit your seating pressure care needs. Consider some of the following descriptions for common materials used in cushions today:
- Gels: Gel and foam-gel cushions are very helpful in providing comfort as well as cooling and temperature regulation.
- Foam: A variety of foams are available. With a wide variety of foam cushions in several cutouts. Such as an egg crate texture, honey comb and standard cutouts. Memory foam cushions are great if you need cushion to better conform to your unique body shape. Foam is great for persons who are sitting for longer periods due to health or occupation. But aren’t necessarily helpful for complicated pressure ulcers. Also foam can be very difficult to maintain and to clean so users with incontinence and severely restricted mobility will have challenges.
Combination Pressure Care Products
- Gels/ Foam Mix: Gel and foam-gel cushions are very helpful in providing comfort as well as cooling and temperature regulation. Viscoflex Cushions offer a mixed foam/ gel type combined with an internal void and a contoured top surface, a capsule design. Creating stability and that delivers comfort. The medical outcomes are a stable pelvis and prevention of reaching the bottoming out zone. Also reduces the pressure against the ITs in the chair. When we relax the shoulders and core muscle group we slump. It’s also natural and common to slide forward while seated. Systam Viscoflex Cushions come in a range of foam and gel offerings and ROHO are two companies who make cushions with layers or fusions of mixed material (i.e. duo foam and gel). Obtaining joint pain relief, temperature regulation, non-sliding security and pressure ulcer care or prevention.
- Air;Polyair and ROHO cushions are common examples of air-filled seating cushions. Comprised of multiple air cells. So the user can fill up separate air compartments. Channels between the air cells allow air to flow circulating the hotter air away from the buttock/sacrael(sp)/thigh contact area. This is helpful to create a correction in alignment to bring about symmetry. It is this manipulation of air that gives rise to a highly customised set up. Generally considered the most effective cushion to reduce the force against the two prominent bones in each buttock cheek. Commonly these two bones can’t tolerate the same amount of pressure as all other areas of the buttocks and thigh regions. So instead, they can fill up the separate compartments with some variance. Systam offer a combination Polyair Cushion which is a foam and air seating pressure care in one.
- Water: The Watercomfort Company partner and purchase the Ambassador chair in various stages of production. They custom bolster a multi adjustable backrest, include memory foam and or water for pressure care management. Our Premier model chair mechanism is suited for clients with lymphatic issues in lower legs or sleeping in the chair.
If you require a cushion for advanced skin care or optimal relief by implementing seating pressure care equipment. You can expect to spend a generous amount of money. Before purchasing a seated cushion, make sure you are well-researched in your choice selection. Consult with a seating equipment specialist as well as a primary physician who is well-versed in your seating needs and skin care. These specialists will be across the contact details for all of the above products.