“A wheelchair without a cushion or with an inadequate cushion can cause pressure sores,” explains the World Health Organization in its Guidelines on the Provision of Manual Wheelchairs in Less Resourced Settings. “This, in turn, may require the user to spend many months in bed; without appropriate care and treatment. This often leads to bedsores, secondary complications and even premature death.” 

At Action Products, we couldn’t agree more. For both bed-ridden and wheelchair-bound patients, maintaining skin integrity is all-important.  Any break in the skin puts the patient at risk for infection and other complications.

“Wheelchairs are the most common assistive or mobility devices for enhancing mobility with dignity,” WHO asserts.”In addition to providing mobility, an appropriate wheelchair is of benefit to the physical health and quality of life of the user.”  The WHO Guidelines goes on to specify common problems reduced by a wheelchair with proper postural support and a proper cushion (p 24)

  • prevents premature death in people with spinal cord injuries
  • results in increased physical function and reduced dependence on others
  • reduces pressure sores

“No single model or size of a wheelchair can meet the needs of all users,” the WHO authors observe. “For long-term users, a wheelchair must fit well and provide good postural support and pressure relief“(p 28).

Redistribution of weight for pressure relief was a primary goal when Action Products, Inc. pioneered the use of Akton® polymer gel in wheelchair cushions, offering different shapes and sizes of rehabilitation pads and cushions designed for pressure injury prevention.

Proper postural support is enhanced with Action’s Twister® Wheelchair Back Cushion, which adapts to the shape of each patient user. Users should use armrests only for temporary postural support, WHO explains (p.61), in order to keep the user’s arms free for propelling.  

Please remember, wheelchairs with inadequate cushions, the WHO Guidelines remind us, can cause pressure sores!

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