When you are choosing a wheelchair cushion first, it is important to understand what the buttocks is made up of so you can better know how to protect it. The bone part is the hip bone (pelvis), the pelvis connects upwards to the spine, and downwards to the femur. The femur extends to the lower limbs.
The muscle part is composed of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. These three muscles connect from the ilium and sacrum and insert on the femur (thigh bone). The functions of these muscles include extension, abduction, external rotation, and internal rotation of the hip joint.
Why is sitting correctly so important?
After sitting in the same position for a long time, it’s natural to want to shift position. Wheelchair users who cannot walk increase their risk of getting pressure sores because they can’t freely get up or readjust their posture. The constant pressure on one point or frequent unnecessary readjusting will cause the skin to break down, which can lead to an infection or worse necrosis.
The stages of pressure sores from surface redness to necrosis.
If the user is not able to get up every hour to relieve the pressure on their buttocks then an alternate solution must be used to help prevent the pressure sores. The Vicair padded air cushion is excellent for both comfort and decompression. There are two types of designs to choose from; 5 individual compartments (Vicair Adjuster 02) or 9 individual compartments (Vicair Vector 02). Each compartment is filled with “SmartCells” that are little pockets of air.
The Vicair Adjuster 02
The main difference between the Adjuster and Vector is the number of compartments. The Adjuster has 5 compartments and is designed especially for users who might have had an amputation, unilateral paralysis, or has a pelvic obliquity. The cushion has been engineered to preserve skin, underlying tissue, and provide stability to the user. The bar in the middle helps to prevent users from sliding forward and the pelvis from tilting backward.
This cushion is designed to “contour upon loading”. This means that when the user sits on the cushion, the air cushions spread to accommodate the shape of the buttocks.
The Vicair Vector 02
The Vicair Vector has 9 compartments which makes it suitable for all types of users and has more compartments to personalise depending on the user’s needs. The cushion is pre-contoured which means that it already has an outline of the shape of the body. The cushion aims to preserve skin as well as stablise the pelvis.
The left and right side of the buttocks can be customised, the left and right side of the thighs can be customised as well as the height at the front and back of the cushion.
How can Vicair air cushion support the user’s sitting position?
Each compartment has its own job to support a certain part of the user’s pelvis e.g. the Vector’s outer compartments are for lateral thigh support. If the user adjusts the cushion into the correct sitting position, they can always maintain the correct posture.
The Vicair air cushion is low maintenance
Vicair cushions are machine washable! You can put the cushion in a laundry bag with the SmartCells inside. For hot and humid countries, being able to conveniently wash and dry the cushion is a huge bonus. Vicair cushions are also 100% breathable for comfort and temperature control.
Even though the SmartCells are being squeezed and moved around everyday, they will still maintain their shape. Even if one gets damaged, it will not affect the support of the cushion. In the event that a SmartCell does break, Vicair will replace it for free!
This cushion is ready to use straight out of the box so the wheelchair user can start to prevent pressure injuries as soon as possible.
Choosing a wheelchair cushion will depend on the needs of the user. They should consider how much time they spend in the chair, and if they have any postural issues that need to be corrected or need extra support. In the case of a Vicair cushion, the user does not necessarily have to need this cushion, but it can just provide general support, skin protection, and comfort. Along with its breathability and washing convenience, it is a great accessory for any wheelchair user. As it does not attach to the wheelchair seat, it does not affect the overall weight of the wheelchair.