EquaGel® cushions for wheelchairs are a dry polymer gel whose ingredients are all of food quality natural material. The material and their design are what make EquaGel® cushions superior to all other cushioning technology.
Traditional cushioning technologies such as foam, memory foam and tempur-foams compress under a weight load. As the weight load of a client compacts the cushion, the heavier and pointier parts of the body will hit bottom causing pressure and ischemia and putting a client at risk of developing pressure ulcers. The harder a foam is compressed, the harder it pushes back – the higher the pressure the greater the risk of developing pressure wounds. This compression strategy only attempts to slow the development of pressure sores rather than eliminating the possibility of pressure development. Tempur-foams, while also exacerbating heat issues, are a prime example of attempting to slow the development of pressure wounds rather than eliminating it.
Air cushioning systems ultimately follow the same model as foam cushions. Once a weight is pressing onto an air chamber and the air is displaced outward to the limits of the chamber, compression and pushing-back takes place. Adjusting the chamber with more or less air does not eliminate compression; it masks it the same as substituting harder or softer foams would. Displacing air to the capacity of a chamber results in compression.
Liquid bladders work much like the air cushions as explained above. Both air and liquid cushions will also exacerbate the build-up of heat.
Studying the technology in hospitals, nursing and rehabilitation, the scientists at EdiZONE developed the buckling gel technology that is EquaGel®. EquaGel® cushions are now considered the best cushions for wheelchairs available. An EquaGel® wheelchair cushion allows pressure points at the ischium and coccyx to free-float down in the cushion while the client’s weight is evenly distributed across the entire contact surface of the cushion. A client of any size, any weight or any shape will not “Hit Bottom” on an EquaGel® gel wheelchair cushion. Hence the client will experience extended comfort. As noted above, that is not the case with all other cushioning technologies.
How do EquaGel® gel cushions for wheelchairs hold up to incontinency concerns?
Extremely well! The EquaGel® gel cushions are non-allergenic and can be washed simply with soap and water. For further sanitation treatments, soaps and disinfectants do not harm the gel cushion. All EquaGel® cushions include covers that are vapor permeable, fluid resistant and fire resistant. They too are easily laundered.
How do EquaGel® Gel Cushions for Wheelchairs Perform with Skin Integrity Issues?
First it is necessary to discuss skin breakdown also referred to as pressure wounds, pressure sores, pressure injuries, skin ulcers, pressure ulcers, and/or decubitus ulcers. These wounds normally occur in a boney prominence where there is relative constant pressure. Such boney prominences would be the ischial tuberosity’s (butt bones), the coccyx (tail bone) and/or the trochanters (hip bones). Wounds are categorized into four stages:
- Stage 1 wound is redness around the area. (See Pressure Ulcer Staging Pictures below)
- Stage 2 pressure sore is breaking of the skin. (See Pressure Ulcer Staging Pictures below)
- Stage 3 pressure ulcer is the boring or deepening of the wound. (See Pressure Ulcer Staging Pictures below)
- Stage 4 is where the skin ulcer is open to the bone.
Other problems, such as bone, blood, and skin infections, can develop when pressure sores do not heal properly. Skin breakdown is serious business, especially for the elderly as, if the treatment of pressure ulcers is not properly attended to, can ultimately result in death. Decubitus ulcers are difficult to treat and are slow to heal.
A pressure sore is an injury to the skin and/or the tissues under the skin. Constant pressure on an area of skin reduces blood supply to the area. Over time, it can cause the skin to break down and form an open skin ulcer. Nutrition can also be a factor in the development or prevention of pressure ulcers. Pressure sores are more likely to form if one is in the hospital or confined to a chair or bed.
Pressure sores most often form on the skin over bony areas where there is little cushion between the bone and the skin. Most pressure wounds form on the lower part of the body, including over the tailbone and on the back along the spine, on the buttocks and on the hips.
Medical science does not have all the answers as to the cause of pressure wounds. However, in the area where the wound occurs, they are confident that three factors are typically present – Pressure – Heat – Moisture. They also know that proper control of the same three factors become inhibitors to the pressure ulcer treatment.
Pressure – As discussed above EquaGel® provides extended comfort for any size and shape of person by keeping them sitting on top of the cushion while relieving for pressure points. On a seat cushion those pressure points are typically the ischial tuberosity’s (butt bones) and the coccyx/sacrum (tail bone). Scars, such as surgical wounds, also become pressure points until fully healed.
Heat – The body develops heat when it is against a surface that does not allow air-flow. Such cushioning materials that limit air-flow and help to cause elevated body heat are foam including memory foam, latex foam and polyurethane foam. Also air-cushions and liquid gel cushions lack the ability to provide sufficient air-flow. The open-cell design of EquaGel® provides a cushion surface that provides for true breathability to the body, hence providing a temperature neutral surface and eliminating or reducing the possibility of elevating body heat.
Moisture – Perspiration from the elevation of body heat is the moisture that typically is involved in the development of skin breakdown. Therefore, if the Heat can be controlled, as happens with the EquaGel® cushions, then the moisture is also controlled.
EquaGel® cushions are the only cushioning technology that fully reduces or eliminates all three of the factors of Pressure – Heat – Moisture.
EquaGel® cushions are truly unsurpassed as a wheelchair cushion for extended comfort and protection.
Ask The Experts
EquaGel cushions provide you with a lot of great choices. If you need help deciding which cushion will best fit your requirements, give us a call at (888) 565-3339, we’d be happy to help!