Q: How should a client’s pressure injury history impact
the seating team’s equipment strategy?
Justine Kohlman: The most important part of a seating strategy
is the cushion, as pressure injuries are predominantly developed
on the posterior, where the majority of weight is applied and
[where it’s] not easy to relieve pressure.
When building a custom automatic-alternating wheelchair
cushion, such as the Aquila Seating System, it is critical to know
the client’s pressure injury history to properly offload under previously
compromised skin and tissue. It is well known that previously
injured skin loses flexibility and can be easily and quickly
reinjured with the constant, unrelieved pressure from a static
wheelchair cushion. When ordering a custom automatic-alternating
Aquila Seating System, clients are required to indicate the
location and size of current and past pressure injuries, as well as
surgical repair sites, to create offloads that will eliminate upward
pressure on past and present pressure injuries.
Q: Can someone with a pressure injury still use their
wheelchair while healing?
Kohlman: Every client, along with their care team, should consult
their physician to discuss possible seating protocols.
It is possible for someone with a pressure injury to still use
their wheelchair. However, not all wheelchair cushions are created
equal. If an individual is not fully capable of performing an
effective weight shift or pressure lift and uses a static cushion,
they will experience constant, unrelieved pressure, which is the
number-one leading cause of pressure injuries. Aquila Seating
Systems automatically alternate to relieve pressure, are custom
fabricated to offload under each client’s current and previous
pressure injuries, and inflate and deflate to a client-specific PSI to
allow clients to use their wheelchair while healing.
Being seated upright and using the mobility device helps
prevent additional healing complications, such as wounds in additional
areas, pneumonia, mental health concerns, and more.
Q: What’s the strategy for dealing with a pressure
injury if the client wants to continue to use the wheelchair
Kohlman: Each client should consult with their physician to establish
a seating protocol. Acknowledge that the most important part of a
wheelchair is the cushion, to which a majority of the body weight is
applied (the posterior). Then, choose an automatic-alternating wheelchair
cushion, like the Aquila Seating System, to relieve the constant
pressure that is the number one cause of pressure injuries.
Justine Kohlman is the VP of Aquila Corp., manufacturer of seat
cushions that can be custom made per each client’s needs.