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There is a lot more to selecting the right wheelchair cushions than simply going into a medical supply store and grabbing the cheapest selections you can find. This is actually a purchase that is just as important and should be considered just as carefully as when a wheelchair is selected. This is because there are several different designs and each of them has their own specific purpose, just as the needs of each patient can be much different.
Common Types of Accessory Cushions that are designed for Wheelchairs
It is true that the level of comfort a person receives is very important however the overall level of support their spine and other areas of the body receives is also extremely important. A lot of medical equipment specialists will tell you that the cushion that is selected should not be any thicker than about two inches. Below is a list of the four main styles of wheelchair cushions that are provided by most any medical equipment company.
- Gel – This is a design that consists of a foam base that has gel pouches on top. The purpose of this design is to give an adequate amount of support to a person’s muscles that have atrophied. The weight of this particular design can be quite heavy, ultimately making the entire chair a lot heavier.
- Foam – This is one of the most common designs that are purchased and this is due to the combined level of support and comfort it provides at the same time. They are convenient, affordable, supportive, and they mold to the patient’s body contours. The main problem with this style is over a period of time they wear out and lose their shape.
- Urethane Honeycomb – This material is made into the pattern of honeycomb and it is extremely lightweight. This results in a high level of shock absorbency and airflow.
- Air Flotation – The support that the patient receives with these wheelchair cushions is provided from air within the cushion. If the patient is able to move around a lot, this is likely not a good choice for their needs. This is because they are not nearly as stable as other types. One of the negative elements of this particular design is if they leak or become punctured they can pose a hazard to the patient.
Each person’s individual preferences and needs will ultimately be the deciding factor of which style is right for them.
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As you search and shop for wheelchair accessories, it is important to establish what is needed from what would simply be nice. There are many accessories on the market and available to people who rely on their wheelchairs, however not everyone needs a heated seat cushion. There is also your budget to consider. Before you start shopping and accessorizing, decide how much you are willing to spend in the upgrade of your wheelchair, and make a list of priority purchases. Even if you cannot afford to buy everything that you need right now, you will at least have a list in place to help you purchase things as you can afford them.
Most people do invest in a wheelchair cushion. This is a padded piece of foam or other material that you sit on. It can help you feel more comfortable if you spend a lot of time sitting in your wheelchair. Most cushions are affordable. You can find a reliable model for less than $20. If you want to spend a little more on something that comes with extra padding, covers that can be replaced and even a heated surface, you will find several products on the market to meet your needs.
A backpack or bag that you can hang on the back of your wheelchair is one of the most popular wheelchair accessories around. Most people like to have something that will hold their personal possessions. A bag helps with storage and security. If you like the cushion on your chair, you might also consider a back cushion for your wheelchair. This type of additional padding will help support your spine and your posture while you are sitting in your wheelchair. Armrest covers are also essential wheelchair accessories for a lot of people. They are inexpensive and slide right over your armrest to keep you protected and comfortable.
Take a good look at all of the wheelchair accessories that are available to you. Shop in stores and online. You can get a lap desk, an oxygen tank carrier, cup holders, and many other little gadgets and additions that might help make your life easier as you get around in your chair. Decide what you must have right now, and make a list of the other things that you want, but do not need immediately. Budget your money appropriately, and you will have a perfectly outfitted and accessorized wheelchair in no time.