One of the reasons that choosing optimal wheelchair seating is so challenging is the large number of factors that can raise the risk of pressure injuries. In addition to pressure and shear, for example, microclimate — the temperature and humidity that exist between a wheelchair user and the seating system — can impact the possibility that a wheelchair rider will sustain a pressure injury.
Symmetric Designs, a seating and positioning company headquartered in Salt Spring Island, B.C., has released a paper — “Test Report: RESPIRA Back Support” — that discusses how the company’s RESPIRA back affects temperature and humidity for wheelchair riders.
Written by seating specialists
The paper, now available on the Symmetric Designs Web site, was authored by Nienke Conijn, MSc; Tim Helming; and Bart Van der Heyden, PT. The report includes an introduction about research on microclimate, then goes on to discuss protocols to measure heat and humidity during testing using a seating indenter and the RESPIRA back.
Then the paper discusses results, including the temperature and humidity readings of the RESPIRA back — with and without its fan turned on — and test results from another manufacturer’s wheelchair back.
The RESPIRA back features active ventilation via an optional lithium-ion fan, and passive ventilation through the back’s padding and cover. The RESPIRA’s many options enable the seating team to more fully customize the client’s seating experience: For example, the team can choose from an insert of ¾-inch Stimulite honeycomb or 1.5-inch perforated gel-infused visco foam, and an outer cover of Spacetex Silver or Spacetex Air. Hardware options include fixed adjustable mounts or bolt action mounts. The RESPIRA is available in lower thoracic (10-inch or 12-inch); mid thoracic (14-inch, 16-inch, or 18-inch); or upper thoracic (20-inch) heights, and in widths from 12 inches to 20 inches.
The product weight starts at 1.1 lbs. without hardware. The RESPIRA is compatible with Symmetric Designs’ L.U.B.S. lateral support, lumbar bolster, and an optional headrest mount.