Independent Living has an area dedicated to information about pressure damage – how it occurs, and strategies to minimise or prevent pressure ulcers developing. It includes “Stop the Pressure” and the latest NICE guidance. This is the link.
Pressure ulcers used to be known as bed sores, amongst other terms, but the current name reflects the fact that you are just as likely to sustain damage through extended periods sitting down, as in bed. So pressure relief seating is just as important as mattresses and overlays.
Ottobock’s Aquos cushion (above left) is particularly designed for use in wheelchairs. It has thin liquid-filled cells incorporated directly in the cover, which prevent rapid wear and tear, but also and more importantly, skin irritation and pressure sores. The combination of a unique pressure management foam and the ultra-thin LiquiCell packets provides ideal skin protection and positioning for those with moderate to high risk of skin breakdown.
An effective combination of air-filled cells and high tech foam, this adjustable pressure relief cushion is suitable for clients who spend a great deal of time seated. The air cells (shown right) are inflated using a hand pump, until they provide the desired degree of support. The air in the cells is moved about in response to the body’s natural movements, efficiently redistributing pressure.
The soft foam outer layer is designed for maximum air circulation and effective moisture dissipation, with a hygienic, impermeable cover.
This sort of cushion can be used in an armchair, wheelchair, car or office seat: wherever pressure relief is required.
Specialist seating, such as the CareFlex Hydrotilt chair shown here, has been designed with built-in pressure relief in the form of an area of water-filled cells in the seat and backrest. The pressure relieving surfaces are combined with a facility to tilt the chair, elevate the leg rest, and change the depth of the seating area, to ensure that it suits the needs of the user.
These systems can make it easier to provide consistent posture management as well as pressure relief for people with complex needs.
Seating designed to offer great adjustability, postural management and pressure relief is, inevitably, complex. Suppliers such as CareFlex offer free training to professionals, to ensure that they understand all aspects of the specialist seating, and how it can affect a person’s comfort and independence.
There is more about specialist seating in our care seating section.