Choosing a wheelchair cushion, Part 2

Posted by Matt on 8/8/2016 to Wheelchair Accessories
Choosing a wheelchair cushion, Part 2

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Yesterday, we looked at the different types of wheelchair cushions available on the market in general. (Click here to read part 1.) Now let’s take a look at the special polymer cushion options we offer to see if one of our products may be the solution to your seating challenges!

Our gel cushion offerings

We sell an extensive line of Action Products. These are state-of-the-art gel cushions made with Akton polymer, a viscoelastic polymer made of vulcanized rubber, which means it can stretch and receive impact but will return to its original shape and is made of durable rubber. Due to this specialized Akton polymer, the Action wheelchair cushions look and feel like gel cushions, but they will not leak or bottom out and they are more comfortable than many other gel cushion products.

Action cushions and other Action products using the same material have been around for 40 years, primarily in healthcare facilities, and the research and clinical use of these products have proven their effectiveness. An Akton polymer Action Flat Pad was even used to make a custom harness on SpaceShipOne!

The ability of the Akton polymer to stretch and bounce back means that it is able to receive significant impact loading, which makes it stand out from standard gel cushions that only conform to your posterior shape after a long period of time.

Furthermore, the Akton polymer is unique in its ability to receive “deformation” (that is, to be compressed or sat on) for long periods of time and still maintain its ability to bounce back to its original shape. That means it won’t bottom out, unlike other gel cushions.

If you take a look at our store product listings, you will see many options for Action cushions, so let’s break it down to help you determine which Action cushion will be the best for your situation.

Professional Cushion

  • Recommended option for moderate risk users, like some long-term wheelchair users
  • Softer, 100 percent polymer (no foam layers)
  • Thickest option available
  • Incontinence cover available by special order

The Action Akton Professional Cushion is the ideal Action product for many long-term wheelchair and scooter users, especially if you are at risk for pressure sores or decubitis ulcers. The Professional Cushion is excellent for this purpose, because it is made of 100 percent Akton polymer and does not contain any foam base that would result in a more firm or rigid feel.

The 1 and 5/8-inch thickness of this cushion provides an extra 50 percent more cushioning than many of the other Action products, and its flat surface allows for effective weight distribution. The flat surface will conform to your posterior shape, including crooked hips and bony prominences that receive too much pressure on traditional seating.

The Professional Cushion’s thickness allows it to immerse your posterior in the comforting gel-like material and will absorb significant impact. This cushion works against pressure, sheer and vibration and does not get as hot as many extremely insulated foam cushions. However, some of our other Action cushions, as you will see, offer even more air circulation and, therefore, reduced overall temperature.

The Professional Cushion does not feature the waterproof film barrier nor an incontinent cover that some other Action cushions do, which means it does not protect against incontinence incidents.

Centurian Cushion

  • Recommended for low-to-moderate risk users
  • 1 and 1/4 inches thick
  • 50 percent polymer, 50 percent foam
  • Light to medium weight
  • Waterproof film barrier built in for incontinence
  • Incontinence cover available by special order

The Centurian Cushion is recommended for low-to-moderate risk users of shear stress and pressure. It is a light to medium weight cushion with a 5/8-inch layer of Akton polymer on top and a foam layer on the bottom, which provides for a firmer surface than the Professional Cushion. This makes it ideal for physically active users who still need advanced cushion for their chair, and it helps greatly in preventing pressure sores, shear sores and decubitis ulcers.

The Centurian Cushion also features the waterproof film barrier to protect the cushion against incontinence incidents or soiling.

Pilot Cushion

  • Recommended for people at moderate risk for pressure sores
  • 100 percent polymer
  • Thin, out of the way
  • Basic cover & incontinent cover options available

The Pilot Cushion is recommended for most low-risk users. Measuring in at 1 inch thick, this low-profile cushion is perfect for a variety of unobtrusive uses for manual and power wheelchairs, truck or taxi seats, because it does not significantly change the seating altitude of the user. Therefore, if you use a manual chair and need to reach the floor with your feet or be able to bend over to pick up items off the floor, the Pilot Cushion will not bump you up too much.

Furthermore, the Pilot Cushion is only made of Akton polymer with no foam base, meaning it is very soft and absorbing to protect against pressure and shear and can, therefore, be used on top of traditional foam cushions or padded seats.

You can order the Pilot Cushion with a Basic Cover or an Incontinent Cover.

Commuter Seat Cushion

  • Recommended for people at low risk for pressure sores
  • 1/2-inch polymer layer (top), 1 and 3/4-inch foam layer (bottom)
  • Firmer than Pilot Cushion
  • Waterproof film barrier built in for incontinence
  • Incontinence cover available by special order

The Commuter Seat Cushion is also recommended for low-risk users and can be used much like the Pilot Cushion, except that it is thicker. It also differs from the Pilot Cushion in that it has a top Akton Polymer layer of only 1/2 inch, while the bottom layer is 1 and 3/4 inches of foam material. Plus, the Commuter has the waterproof film barrier.

The combination of the Akton Polymer and foam layers results in a firmer more stable feel.

Shear Smart Pad

  • Recommended for shear pressure/shear stress
  • 100 percent polymer
  • Cubed structure allows greater air circulation
  • Comes with anti-shear cover that also does not absorb fluids in order to protect against incontinence incidents

The Shear Smart Pad is recommended to deal especially with problems of shear stress. It is 100-percent Akton polymer but is made with a cubed structure on top that allows for increased air circulation, which helps to keep skin dry and prevent friction-related injuries or sores. Furthermore, the Shear Smart Pad comes with a Shear Smart Cover, which features a special double-layer surface that helps protect against shear.

The Shear Smart Cover is made to protect against incontinence incidents. Please note that you must keep the Shear Smart Cover on the Shear Smart Pad to protect against incontinence incidents, as the pad itself does not have the built-in waterproof foam barrier.

Adaptive Cube Pad

  • Same as Shear Smart Pad but without the cover
  • Can be cut for a variety of uses

The Adaptive Cube Pad is the same as the Shear Smart Pad (see above) except that it does not come with the Shear Smart Cover. The purpose for this is that it can be cut and used for spot protection on products such as arm pads, foot plates, head/leg rests and splints/braces, just like the Flat Pads (see below). The difference between the Adaptive Cube Pad and the Flat Pads is the cubed structure of the Cube Pads that protects especially against shear stress.

Adaptive Flat Pads

  • 100 percent polymer
  • Flat surface
  • Thickness options: 1/4, 1/2 or 5/8 inch
  • Can be cut for a variety of uses
  • Basic cover available for 1/2- or 5/8-inch thick pads
  • Incontinence cover available by special order

The range of Adaptive Flat Pads we offer are simply flat pads of different thicknesses made of 100 percent Akton Polymer. The main purpose behind these pads is that they can be cut and used for custom purposes in much the same way as the Adaptive Cube Pads. Of course, they can also be used as regular cushions if desired.

The Adaptive Flat Pads come in three thicknesses: 1/4, 1/2 or 5/8 inch. These thin sizes allow for many traditional and non-traditional uses. Note that there is a Basic Cover available that fits on the 1/2- and 5/8-inch Flat Pads, but not the 1/4-inch Flat Pad. Incontinence covers must be bought by special order for these pads.

We wish you the best on finding a new cushion

Hopefully, your questions about wheelchair cushions have been answered. Stay in touch on our website and our Facebook page, and let us know any way we can help!

© Copyright 2016 The Wright Stuff, Inc. Articles may only be redistributed in its unedited form. Written permission from The Wright Stuff, Inc. must be obtained to reprint or cite the information contained within this article.

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