The Wheelchair Cushion Market – Pressure Sores And The Best Overall Cushion Choice
Being a leader in the industry of wheelchair cushions for 20 plus years, Aquila Corporation has seen it all. We have seen cushion manufacturers come and go, we have been at industry trade shows and have seen other wheelchair cushion ads in publications. They all display colorful banners, signs, catchy phrases and promises.
They boast about their pvc rubber, proudly saying “you can’t slide around on this cushion”; however, this is before the cover is put on the cushion. Do they expect people to sit on that hot or cold rubber depending on the season? Your cushion without a cover could be very cold or possibly very warm, but at least no one will slide off?
Others brag about their willingness to completely replace the cushion if it goes flat (IF it goes flat?). They are kind enough to offer what appears to be a small bike pump so you can pump the cushion up and a patch kit for when it leaks. Oh, and you can’t use a cover on this air flotation cushion either because you must do the 2-finger test under the client to make sure there is just the perfect amount of air in the cushion. Whose fingers? Every person has different sized fingers. This means depending on who puts the two fingers under the end user, the amount of air would be different each day.
Regardless of the promises of cushions that come without covers and cushions that come with pumps and patch kits, they are all static. Motionless under the end user.
But, that isn’t even the worst thing about these cushions. If the air in an air flotation cushion leaks, if it develops even the smallest of pinhead sized hole, you are left with a piece of flat rubber beneath you. Pressure injuries can develop if one is bottomed out while sitting on zero protection on a metal seat pan. Not a good situation to be in.
Even a static, foam cushion would be safer than an air cushion without an alarm. The foam is also static, but it cannot spring a leak and leave you in a dangerous situation.
Any static cushion is potentially harmful as they do absolutely nothing for the client. The user performs all the action for pressure relief, if not, pressure injuries could occur and usually do.
Dr. Kirman from the UC San Francisco School of Medicine* states that one third of the people that enter the hospital with a pressure injury will die as a direct result of that or newly formed pressure injury. He also confirmed that one half of the people that develop a pressure injury while in the hospital will die within 12 months. He states that 6.8 people die each hour as a direct result of a pressure injury. 54 people in our 8-hour workday will die as a result of their injury. 54 people will die while I am at work today, a very sobering fact. The hope of people who use a wheelchair and the people who care for them, is that they would never have a pressure injury, but unfortunately, they are extremely common and can be life threatening.
Aquila Corporation has been supplying automatic alternating cushions, fully equipped with a battery and pressure alarm for end users safety and each cushion is specifically built and programmed for each person. Nothing is “cookie cutter” or “off the shelf” about Aquila cushions. The cushions work for the client by continually inflating and deflating the 2 sets of air bladders ( approx. every 60 seconds) to offer stimulation and circulation to the skin and tissue of the posterior.
Physicians say to avoid pressure injury one must relieve the pressure, the constant pressure (the number one cause of pressure injuries) every 20 minutes. Every 20 minutes one must lift their entire body up for several seconds to reestablish blood flow to the areas under the boney prominences. This means during the movies, at the restaurant, during school, at work etc. I know there are some people that do not do this based on the conversations I have had with end users. Either end users cannot do them due to their diagnosis or they simply forget or don’t want to interrupt the group they are with by doing a pressure lift. The other way people try to get pressure relief is by tilting their chair way back, so their feet are very high in the air. All this does is put more pressure on the sacrum from the static cushion.
People need to do their research on cushions. Besides the chair itself, the cushion is the most important accessory on a wheelchair. The average cost of a pressure injury stated by Dr. Kirman, is $43,000.00. If someone wants to spend that kind of money and be taken out of the game until they heal, I suppose they can. But I would rather remind someone of the facts stated by Dr. Kirman earlier. “One third of people that enter the hospital for a pressure sore, die.” One third will die and half of the people who develop a sore while staying in the hospital will die within 12 months. That being said, the end user has to do everything in their power to stay out of the hospital. You stay out of the hospital by keeping your tissue healthy and a static cushion is typically not the answer.
If your cushion is not working for you, it could very well be working against you. Pressure relief is the key along with good nutrition and hydration, not smoking, safe transfers etc.
The team at Aquila Corporation has cracked the code in designing wheelchair cushions designed to treat and prevent pressure injury and is the best wheelchair cushion choice on the market . Our patented cushions are the only cushions that are handcrafted, one by one for specific concerns. We configure each processor for the specific client’s weight and size of their cushion. We also have the only cushion that is handcrafted and configured for each client while offloading completely below an injury. There will not be any upload pressure from air bladders under a sore. The client has 3 firmness options to choose from specifically programmed at Aquila. We have created an automatic alternating cushion that is like no other in the industry. Our cushions are programmed to alternate approx. every 60 seconds; however, we can program the cushion to alternate at any other frequency as well. The cushion and programming can also be modified if need be. We strive for same day turn around. You won’t have to wait for your cushion for weeks like I have heard about from new clients that used a dry flotation cushion which caused injury.
Our cushions, the Airpulse PK2 (APK2) and the SofTech are coded for insurance. The billing code is HCPCS E2609, custom fabricated. Aquila’s APK2 cushion is also on contract with the United States VAMCs and have been since 2003. ( VA Contract Number is V797P-3200M ) We are also the only cushion that has actual clinical data. Case studies and reports that were NOT written by an employee of Aquila, rather physicians and other medical professionals.
There is truly no other cushion like an Aquila cushion. There is absolutely no comparison between the (handcrafted, computer programmed, offloading capable, 60 second alternation, any size, any shape, no weight limit), clinically proven Aquila cushions and the static dry flotation cushions (no matter the color), or the static gel or foam cushions. No comparison.
VP Aquila Corporation