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Skin protection through methods of pressure distribution

Looking for more information on seating and positioning? Check out our digital page all about what to look for in seating and positioning products here. This is part 4 of our series on seating and positioning. See part 1, part 2 and part 3.


Being seated full time automatically means that skin protection is required. However, there are varying needs for skin protection among full-time wheelchair users based on their ability to perform frequent pressure reliefs, the ability to reposition, and the condition of their skin based on disease process, nutrition, or years since injury. Permobil understands the importance of skin protection and has designed products for every level of need utilizing the highest quality mediums, design, and technologies.

Skin protection cushions: there’s not just one way!

It’s easy to think that a skin protection cushion should be soft and cushy and cradle the skin. But in reality, it’s all about redistributing pressure over a larger surface area to decrease high peak pressures in just one area.

Surface Area Pressure

Methods of pressure redistribution

Taking the same amount of pressure and spreading it out over a greater surface area will do this (as illustrated above), but even then, there are different methods in doing such.

How do I choose which method?

This is where we need to look at a client holistically and ask questions:

  • How do you transfer? Will contours make that more difficult? Will a sliding board work on a soft immersive cushion?
  • Will the weight of the cushion impact propulsion?
  • Do you need more stability at the pelvis or do you function best with more freedom of movement at the pelvis? The ability to perform daily activities can be impacted by the seated surface.
  • Does the client have the cognitive capacity or willingness to keep up with standard cushion maintenance?
  • Which type of surface feels best to you? Comfort is subjective and is very important for compliance!

There are multiple skin protection options, and understanding the benefits and considerations of the methods of pressure redistribution can be key to leading you in the right direction for your clients!

Check out our cushion offerings here.


Key attributes of wheelchair seat cushion


Share ButtonStacey Mullis

Stacey Mullis, OTR/ATP

Director of Clinical Marketing

Stacey serves as Director of Clinical Marketing for Permobil. A practicing OTR for over 20 years, she has experience in school-based pediatrics, inpatient rehabilitation, long term care, and home health. With her interest in wheelchair seating and positioning, Stacey engaged the challenges of providing appropriate seating in various clinical settings. She now uses this experience to develop programs and resources to educate clinicians on the principles of seating and wheeled mobility. She is passionate about equipping clinicians and through her previous role as Director of Clinical Education with Comfort Company and now with Permobil she has taught nationally and internationally to increase therapist capacity in this specialty area. Mullis graduated from Western University in London, Ontario, Canada with a BA Linguistics and BSc Occupational Therapy. She is a member of the NCOTA, CTF Executive Board, NRRTs, RESNA, and AOTA.

 

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