If you’re looking for comfort and a way to prevent or help heal pressure sores, then an air wheelchair cushion may be just for you. Air cushions feature unique properties which can lead to improved health and comfort for wheelchair users at risk of skin shearing, pressure sores, and other issues.
Air cushions are typically constructed of many air-filled cells. In most cases, the cells interconnect, meaning that as you sit on the cushion, some of the air is displaced from the cells directly beneath you to the cells around your side. This unique design means that air cushions won’t bottom out in the way that gel cushions can as the gel gets pushed out to the side. When an air cushion is properly adjusted, there will always be air beneath you.
Because air cushions allow you to sit down in the cushion, they greatly help to distribute your weight evenly. As the air shifts, it helps to avoid the creation of pressure points. If you already have a pressure sore, avoiding pressure points is essential to helping the sore to heal, while providing you with comfort at the same time.
Air cushions can be adjusted to best suit your needs. Your cushion will come with directions for determining the proper inflation level. It’s important to regularly check the inflation of your air cushion, since air does gradually leak out with use and your cushion will require more maintenance than foam or gel cushions do.
It's important to note that while air cushions are excellent for aiding in proper weight distribution, they typically provide little postural support.
Don’t Be Afraid to Invest In Your Cushion
You will find that air cushions are available in a variety of prices, and that they typically cost more than foam and gel cushions. Don’t be afraid to invest in your wheelchair cushion. If you need a cushion which distributes pressure and which helps with skin issues, then an air cushion is a worthwhile investment. You will find that the air cushions with larger price tags offer additional features and more control over the cushion’s shape than the cheaper air cushions do. Often, purchasing a more costly air cushion is worth it in terms of the comfort and customization that the cushion provides you.
Talk with Your Doctor
Before you buy an air cushion, talk with your doctor to make sure that it’s the right type of cushion for you. If you need both postural support and pressure distribution, some air cushions can provide both. Just make sure that your doctor feels the cushion will provide you with the amount of postural support that you need.