Wheelchairs can provide individuals with freedom, independence, and mobility. Modern wheelchairs have come a long way in terms of comfort and usability, but there are still factors that need to be considered to help prevent discomfort and pressure sores. Let’s take a look at some of the things that need to be considered to help prevent pressure sores.
One of the biggest factors that contributes to pressure sores for wheelchair users is the amount of time they are spending in their wheelchair. Over extended periods of time pressure sores can develop and can become quite painful and difficult to heal. To help prevent pressure sores from extended use, having a quality wheelchair cushion is essential. Not all cushions are the same, and what may be great for one person may not work for another. Being fitted for a cushion by a professional who takes many factors into consideration is a key step in preventing pressure sores.
The amount of movement the person using the wheelchair does is also an important factor in determining their risk of pressure sores. If someone is completely limited in their mobility, they are more likely to experience pressure sores due to lack of movement. Likewise if they are required to remain in a particular position for medical reasons (such as a reclined position) they may be more likely to develop sores. In these cases having stabilizing cushions is essential. Especially in the case of a reclined position, it’s important to have stabilizers in place to prevent sliding down in the chair, causing pressure in the wrong places.
Sensation, or lack of it, is another major factor in the development of pressure sores. For many people in wheelchairs, pressure sores develop because of a lack of sensation. In these cases they are caused because the person simply does not feel the discomfort of their positioning, and as a result can’t move to fix the problem. Similarly, moisture can lead to sores as a result of lack of sensation. If the person is unable to sense discomfort from the way they are sitting, they may also not be able to sense moisture that could lead to sores. If you or a loved one are in a wheelchair and dealing with pressure sores due to any of these risk factors above, call us at Freedom Mobility to discuss some solutions that may help. Our team of professionals can help you or your loved one find the right tools to increase comfort, prevent sores, and live life more fully.