Nan J. Corbo is a volunteer extraordinaire, public figure, and philanthropist. She has given her time and energy to so many causes, it's hard to keep track! A nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital by day, Nan founded her own consulting center for seniors in her spare time. After several years of offline work, Nan decided to move her project to online and created a website which would provide all sorts of information and help for the elderly and their families – from giving practical tips to some particular products that would make life easier.
Ray Butcher is a man with many talents. After studying nursing at Felician University in New York, he realized it’s not exactly what he wanted to dedicate his whole life to. So Ray decided to use the acquired knowledge and skills to help others in the field of fitness training, which has always attracted him. Ray’s knowledge of anatomy and first aid was a great advantage, and he quickly became a certified fitness instructor. Later, Ray focused on older clients and developed his own fitness course specifically for the elderly. To share his knowledge with as many people as possible, he founded a website with tips for the elderly and their families. Now, apart from managing the website, and writing articles for it, Ray continues to work as a fitness instructor, 3 days a week.
Last updated: December 29, 2021
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Are you looking for the best wheelchair cushion for pressure sores? We know it can be really challenging. There are so many available, all with different features that have their own pros and cons.
In this article, we have reviewed the best wheelchair seat cushions for pressure sores to help you get an idea of what’s on offer. We’ve considered their materials, effectiveness, durability, and more, all to give you an idea of what to look for. Here you’ll find models made for heavy users and those with a standard weight capacity. Also, if you are looking for extra support – there’s a model with various support settings on our list especially for you! With our guidance, you’re a step ahead and completely in the know so that you can choose the very best cushion for your needs.
More features: fluid, air, and foam layers; high-pressure hotspots; 3D flotation technology
The PURAP wheelchair cushion is an innovative, layered cushion designed to help prevent pressure sores by relieving pressure from the areas most likely to develop these painful wounds. Using patented fluid 3D flotation technology developed in California and tested at Stanford University, the well-designed cushion can both prevent sores and help any current sores heal. The product is also suitable for lift chairs and scooters at 1.5 inches thick, 10 x 18 inches. It is also handily topped with waterproof material, ideal for incontinent patients.
The PURAP wheelchair cushion is the ideal product for customers who have struggled with ‘sinking in’ to other types of wheelchair cushions. The technology that the PURAP uses has an anti-skid bottom, a layer of foam, then air, then fluid, and then a waterproof cover – a completely different design compared to most other products in this category. If other wheelchair cushions flatten and fail to provide the support you need, the PURAP is a good next option to try.
Why did it make our list?
We really like the unique design of the cushion, which can help relieve the pressure from sores in a way that other products don’t. Some customers also liked that the cushion is not very thick, which avoids the issue of being sat high in the chair after placing the product. Another great benefit of the PURAP is the waterproof top, which is handy for wiping clean, sanitizing, and cleaning up any accidents.
What is not ideal about it?
Some customers found that the cushion bunched up curled up or became lumpy over time. Another common complaint is that the cushion is unsuitable for people over 250 pounds and can provide less support for heavier people overall, even those lighter than 250 pounds. Lastly, some customers found that the cushion felt a bit too warm after sitting for a prolonged period of time, likely because of the foam.
The Mobicushion is an advanced pressure relief system that uses a range of materials to help prevent pressure sores and to help any current wounds to heal. It works by providing a comfortable foam base which is then boosted by a pneumatic air cushion that has 5 modes and intuitive pressure support. The product also uses a rechargeable lithium battery with 12 hours of use per charge, has a plug mode, and smart audio and visual indicators for complete control.
This cushion is an excellent choice for long-term use, where you may have different needs every day. The Mobicushion is adjustable, so if you need more support in one area one day, you can have it by inflating the air cells to the setting you need. If you only need the foam support another day, you can completely turn off the inflation and enjoy the foam base and thigh support. It’s designed to give you maximum versatility for changing physical needs.
What are its best features?
We really like the fact that the product is breathable, which helps with the issue of overheating, which can occur with purely foam cushions. We also like that the product is fire retardant and water-resistant for extra safety and protection. Some customers also found that the cushion relieves pressure so much they did not need to get out of their wheelchair for pressure breaks, which is a real positive. Many people in the position of caring for people in wheelchairs also felt that their need to reposition loved ones/ clients throughout the day for comfort was reduced because the cushion effectively relieves pressure.
What could be improved?
For some customers, the product made it challenging to maintain a center of gravity and made balance difficult at times. Some customers also found that the batteries supplied quickly started to give a lower charge time quite quickly. While there is the ability to use the cushion with a plug, some customers struggle to find replacement batteries, making it a real challenge to use the product when out and about because of the reduced battery life.
More features: column-buckling technology; medical-grade gel material; built-in carry handles; zippered cover
The FOMI orthopedic wheelchair cushion is made of medical-grade gel in column buckling technology for a comfortable seat and the relief and prevention of pressure sores. The design helps to distribute the weight of your body evenly across your rear as you sit, keeping you cool at the same time with a cooling structure and plenty of air circulation. Customers will also like that the cushion is non-slip and secure and has built-in carry handles so that you can easily move it between locations and seating positions.
The FOMI cushion is a great product for customers who are always moving between different locations. You can easily slip the cushion from your wheelchair to the sofa, to a coffee shop chair, to an airplane set – at just 2.2 pounds and with attached handles, you can move it in a second. Carers of people in wheelchairs will also find the lack of batteries, easy-carry handles, and weight of the cushion helpful when ensuring the comfort of the person in their care.
What makes it special?
We really like the product is lightweight and has inbuilt carry handles. This provides a level of easy transferability that is very helpful for both wheelchair users and those who care for loved ones/ clients in wheelchairs. Some customers also found that the cushion didn’t slip easily for better stability during use. Another common positive feedback is that the cushion was suitable not just for wheelchair users but also for customers sitting down for long journeys who required additional support.
What cons did we find?
Many customers felt that the cushion was easily ‘squashed’ if you’re of a heavier weight than the average person. Similar feedback suggested that the foam cells shift as you naturally move, removing the support provided by the cushion. Another problem is that the cushion is a little small at 15 x 17, offering no thigh support. Lastly, we also found that overall, even though the cushion is comfortable at first, the cushion does not continue to offer support for those with pressure sores or needing to sit for a prolonged period.
The Everlasting Comfort gel memory foam cushion is a thick three-inch wheelchair cushion packed with handy features to help keep you comfy and free from pressure sores. With ventilation holes, a breathable mesh cover, and body heat-responsive technology, you’re sure to stay cool and sweat-free while you use the product. Customers will also feel reassured that the design of the OEKO-TEX tested product has had its design recommended by orthopedic doctors for optimum back, leg, and hip pain relief.
The Everlasting Comfort gel memory foam cushion is a good choice for heavier customers who may need a thicker product to support them while they are seated. It’s three inches, and although it is cushioned, it is firmer than slimmer cushions that could flatten out easily with more weight placed on top.
What makes it stand out?
We really like the various features the product has to offer in the way of cooling and ventilation. So many different wheelchair cushions can be hot and sweaty, so for the Everlasting cushion to work against that issue is really innovative and helpful. We also like that the cushion is nice and thick, making it more suitable for heavier customers who require more support.
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Some customers felt that the cushion quickly squashed down and flattened after a short time of regular use. Another common issue is that the product is labeled as non-slip, but it was not as grippy to the surface it was placed on as some customers would like. Another common piece of feedback was that the product is overall quite uncomfortable to sit on for long periods.
More features: sculpted; medical grade materials; ergonomic lumbar support back; spot clean only
The egg crate foam cushion from DMI is a tiny 0.89 pounds, making it an excellent lightweight option for wheelchair users. At around 15 x 17 inches, it has a lot of coverage for both the buttocks and the thighs, as well as a lower back support section for total lumbar coverage. Customers will love that the product is a thick 4.5 inches with a convoluted surface for lots of comforts when seated. Even better, the shape of the foam is such that air is able to flow more easily, helping to prevent uncomfortable sweating and heat so common with this type of product.
This product is perfect if you or the person you care for is in the same position for a long time every day, and they are particularly at risk of pressure sores. Because it is so light and easy to put in place, it’s an instant improvement on being seated on a hard surface or standard wheelchair cushion. The egg box design is also very comfortable and helps with the common issue of foam overheating and cushion-cased sweating.
Why are we impressed?
We love how light the cushion is at just 0.89 pounds, making it very easy to move around and transfer. We also love how the cushion is supportive for both the back and the bottom, so you get double support and comfort in one product. Lastly, the product is well-designed so that it helps to prevent the bottom from getting too hot and sweaty, which is really important when you are sitting for a long time.
What negatives must you be aware of?
Many customers felt that the cushion flattened quite quickly, especially those of a heavier weight. Another common complaint was that the product is not remarkably durable compared to similar products. It doesn’t hold up to wear and tear very well and tends to have more of a short-term life than similar cushions. We also felt that it is a negative feature that you can only spot clean the cushion, and it is not able to be cleaned otherwise. This could make it unsuitable for customers with incontinence.
Things to Consider
To help you get an understanding of which products are the best wheelchair seat cushions for pressure sores, we’ve created a handy buying guide. We’ve looked at features like the product’s material, size, form, and durability so that you know exactly what to look for in this necessary purchase.
Why Use a Wheelchair Cushion?
Wheelchair cushions make sitting more comfortable and help prevent pressure injuries from occurring.
There are around 2.7 million wheelchair users
Trusted SourceWheeled Mobility | NCBIIndependence in mobility is one of the most important determinants of quality of life for individuals with disabilities.
in the United States, making the most of the latest wheelchair technology to remain able to stay mobile and, in many cases, independent.
Of those millions of wheelchair users, every single person is at risk of common problems like pressure sores and similar conditions caused by being seated for a long time. Pressure sores or ‘decubitus ulcers’, in particular, are common and, according to Healthline
Trusted SourceBed Sores (Decubitus Ulcers): Stages, Causes, and More | HealthlineA decubitus ulcer is also called bedsore. We explain why they occur and how to prevent them from developing.
, cause symptoms such as:
Firm or soft skin around the wound
Unresponsive skin when you press it
These kinds of sores are more common in the elderly, particularly those who are very frail and suffering from chronic disease, according to a medical paper
Trusted SourceAn overview of co-morbidities and the development of pressure ulcers among older adults | BMC GeriatricsThe prevalence of pressure ulcers particularly in the frail older adult population continues to be high and very costly especially in those suffering from chronic diseases and has brought a higher awareness to comprehensive, preventive and therapeutic measures for treatment of pressure ulcers.
The good news is that pressure sores are preventable with the right kind of support, like wheelchair cushions, which relieve the pressure from the buttocks. The right cushions also help current pressure sore wounds to heal.
If pressure sores are unable to heal, they might get infected, causing the person to get a fever, pus in the wound, redness, pain, and in the worst-case scenarios, this can lead to sepsis.
As well as the above benefits of pressure cushions are also helpful for easing the discomfort of sitting in the same spot for long periods of time. This can be particularly uncomfortable when you have had a hip replacement or similar surgery, making it particularly useful to have a cushion to help keep things feeling better all-round.
Lastly, pressure cushions can help those who care for relatives or clients who are in a wheelchair. It helps take some of the strain from moving the person regularly to help take some of the stress from pressure points.
How to Choose the Best Wheelchair Cushion For Pressure Sores
Let’s take a look at the main features of pressure sore cushions so that you can buy the very best product for your needs.
There are multiple types of wheelchair cushions to suit your needs, including egg box style, memory foam, gel, and mixtures of those materials. Some products, like the Mobicushion, also use pneumatic air systems to provide support. Which is better? For more robust support, thicker products like the Everlasting wheelchair cushion and the Mobicushion can be a great choice. For something more lightweight, look for egg box foam products such as the FOMI or DMI cushions which are the best wheelchair egg-crate cushions for preventing pressure sores.
Egg crate foam helps to reduce or heal pressure sores by taking weight off sensitive areas and improving air circulation.
The materials that are used have an impact on how hot the product is likely to get, how durable it is and how able it is to deal with heavier users.
Memory foam is prone to getting quite warm, whereas egg box foam tends to be better at avoiding that kind of problem. Gel wheelchair cushions for pressure sores are also very good at preventing overheating. On the other hand, egg box foam cushions might be more likely to degrade more quickly, and they may not be able to deal with heavier users as well as materials like gel cushions or air-filled cushions.
Some products, like the Mobicushion, have water-resistant tops, which is really helpful when the cushion is being used by an incontinent customer. The Mobicushion can also have its base layer washed, which is really helpful. Water-resistance is an important feature if you know that spillages and leaks will be part of the user experience with the cushion.
If the product needs to be moved around a lot, it is helpful if it is lightweight. The PURAP, FOMI, and DMI are all lightweight and very easy to transfer between surfaces. If the item needs to provide extra support, a product like the Mobicushion is really useful because it has many different settings, providing support to the areas that need it.
As we mentioned above, some items are also less suited to heavier users. If the customer is heavier, a thicker product like the DMI or Mobicushion works well. The Everlasting is particularly good for heavier users because it is quite firm and thick.
The size of the product is essential because it has to fit into your wheelchair well. Some products have a smaller footprint, and some have a larger footprint. You must measure your wheelchair seat to check that the cushion you choose works. Do also be aware that some products do not have thigh support, making them more uncomfortable. Some go the other way and offer more support in the way of a back foam section, such as the DMI. It all depends on how you prefer to be supported in your wheelchair.
The size is also relevant in terms of thickness because thicker items can actually raise you from the seat more than you might like.
If that is an issue, thinner products like the PURAP are a great idea because they provide pressure support while also keeping you at an acceptable seated position.
If you are likely to move the product into different seats, the FOMI is quite handy because it has handles attached. This is great when you need to move the cushion underneath yourself or underneath the wheelchair user.
It is also a good idea to look out for products that have anti-slip bases. It may seem like a small feature, but when you have the item moving around underneath you, it can become a big issue quickly.
Pressure cushions can be useful in preventing pressure sores in combination with other actions such as:
Position changes every couple of hours
Position shifts every 15 minutes
Checking for pressure sore signs and symptoms
Wearing loose clothing
Adding pressure point padding
There are also many further tips listed to check, as well as following advice from your doctor. As a general rule, pressure cushions alone will not prevent pressure sores, but they will help along with other preventative actions.
There are multiple benefits to using wheelchair cushions: getting comfort, pressure sore prevention, aiding pressure sore healing, better seating ventilation, and avoiding pressure sore complications like infections.
The Mobicushion is exceptional for providing various support options, which is why it is our Best for Changing Needs nomination. The FOMI is an excellent lightweight product that is easy to move around, and it is our Best Gel Wheelchair cushion. Lastly, we love the PURAP – Editors Choice – for its innovative design and a fantastic level of support in such a slimline, easy clean package.
Hopefully, you also have your best wheelchair cushion for pressure sores lined up, too, after reading our handy guide. The product has such an important use; it’s so essential you feel informed and able to make the best possible decision for yourself, loved ones, or clients. With our guide and your own research, you can ensure maximum comfort and pressure relief is gained with the item you choose.
Wheeled Mobility | NCBI
Independence in mobility is one of the most important determinants of quality of life for individuals with disabilities.
An overview of co-morbidities and the development of pressure ulcers among older adults | BMC Geriatrics
The prevalence of pressure ulcers particularly in the frail older adult population continues to be high and very costly especially in those suffering from chronic diseases and has brought a higher awareness to comprehensive, preventive and therapeutic measures for treatment of pressure ulcers.