Examining the Wheelchair Cushions Role in Pressure Injury Prevention
When cushion manufacturers claim, their cushions treat and prevent pressure injury, the consumer needs to consider the facts on exactly what that cushion can and cannot do as well as how pressure injury happens.
Pressure sores (also called pressure injuries, bed sores, or pressure ulcers) are caused by constant unrelieved pressure to skin and tissue under the pelvic bones. Think of the arteries and tissue as a garden hose. Your body weight presses and restricts blood flow like a hose being compressed. That restricted blood flow (capillary occlusion) is how pressure injury begins because nutrients cannot reach the cells of the tissue and cells begin to die. Pressure injury is a very real and common problem among wheelchair users.
The most effective means of avoiding pressure injury is to relieve the constant pressure which is why doctors and therapists instruct patients to do pressure lifts every 20 minutes. By lifting the body, the circulation to skin and tissue is restored and pressure injury is avoided.
If the cushion cannot create movement, it is impossible for the cushion itself to relieve pressure to skin and tissue because the cushion cannot mimic a pressure lift. Roho makes the statement “we are the worldwide leader in seating solutions that prevent and treat pressure injuries.” A Roho is a static air cushion and as such cannot possibly give pressure relief (roho doesn’t create movement) so that statement has to be examined. The only way to get pressure relief when sitting on a roho cushion is by lifting up. The user is providing the means to achieve pressure relief, not the cushion. The same holds true for any static cushion like foam, gel, honeycomb or combination cushion. If the cushion by itself cannot create movement, it cannot give pressure relief. The pressure is constant until the user takes action by lifting themselves up.
A Smarter Solution
Aquila cushions on the other hand automatically alternate to simulate a pressure lift and can give pressure relief as often as every 30 seconds. Our cushions are proactive in that they create movement which gives relief to compressed tissue and skin. They mimic the pressure relief of a pressure lift so the user gets a similar benefit with no direct action needed by the user.
We have a pressure mapping video which shows exactly what we are talking about. On our video page, you will see a comparison of our automatic cushion versus a Roho static air cushion. The Aquila cushion alternates and stimulates circulation multiple times per minute while the Roho just sits there motionless.
The same person is sitting on both cushions.
Knowing that constant pressure is the cause of pressure injury and pressure relief prevents pressure injury, which cushion will be beneficial to the user and which will not?