How often should you change your pressure care cushion?

By Martina Tierney, OT

We have found, that a common question with healthcare professionals can be ‘how often do you need to change a pressure cushion?’

The honest answer, is that there is no simple, one word answer to this question, as it depends on;

• The type of cushion.
• How often the cushion is being used.
• The aftercare of the cushion.
• And most importantly the patients condition and skin integrity.

Cushion selection should always be done following a Pressure Care Risk assessment. Click here to read more about choosing the right cushion.

I am also passionate about not relying on the cushion alone to provide all the pressure care needs in a chair. While the cushion plays an integral role it must be used in accordance with the Four Principles of Clinical, Therapeutic Seating.

When you have provided the cushion most suitable for your patient, and adhered to the four principles, I would highly recommend that the patients skin is checked for redness or changes at regular intervals for the first 48 hours after fitting the cushion. This is to ensure the cushion is giving maximum pressure redistribution and comfort.

Depending on the type of cushion (for example an air cushion) it may need readjusted in the first 48 hours to get maximum benefit.

Thereafter, it is good practice to educate the client, or carers, to check the cushion every time the client is being transferred on to it, using this checklist;

1. Is the cushion the right way up? Ensure the back and front are in the right place.

2. For air cushions, check it has not deflated or is not over inflated.

3. For gel cushions, check there are no leaks (if applicable).

4. For memory foam cushions, check the foam has rebounded to its original shape.

If a foam cushion does not rebound to its normal position, then it needs to be replaced. The timeline for this depends on;

· The weight of the client.

· How well the cushion is maintained.

· Length of time the cushion is being used.

Generally speaking, the technical construction of the cushion should be reviewed annually by a professional and replaced every 2-3 years depending on its condition.

A clinical review of the cushion and its performance and suitability for the patient should be part of the patient’s care plan taking into consideration any changes or deterioration in the patients skin integrity orrisk factors for pressure injuries.

Do you think your cushion may need replaced?

Get in touch with out team today to see how we could help you or your patient.

*Note – the purpose of this blog is to give an overview of the product with some tips to consider on its use. This is not intended to be a substitute for professional or medical advice, diagnosis, prescription or treatment and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. For advice with your personal health or that of someone in your care, consult your doctor or appropriate medical professional.

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