Air or dry floatation wheelchair cushions
Air floatation wheelchair cushions support the body entirely on air. A typical example is the Roho cushion, designed with a group of small, interconnected rubber balloons arranged in rows. Pressure is balanced by air shifting out to surrounding balloons, spreading pressure evenly against your skin. The whole system is closed so air floatation cushions can't bottom out the way gel wheelchair cushions can.
The Roho Airlite Cushion
The Roho Airlite Cushion is designed for clients with tactile sensation and who are low risk for pressure ulcers and has a contoured, anatomical-shaped foam with a pre-set, sealed Air Flotation component, the AirLITE enables users to sit comfortably for an extended time.
One of the better air wheelchair cushions on the market is the Balanced Aire Adjustable Cushion made by Mason Medical Products 8047-16). The Balanced Aire Adjustable Cushion is our Premier Pressure management wheelchair cushion. The Balanced Aire Adjustable Cushion offers you dynamic and aggressive positioning, unmatched stability and a highly advanced level of prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers. It has Flexible interconnected, independent 4” air cells which allow for deep immersion into the cushion providing unvarying low pressure and an increased blood supply necessary for healthy tissue maintenance. The cells shift and shape to the seat area providing a low friction, low shear surface.
Air cushions are relatively lightweight, and are waterproof, allowing for double duty in the bathtub or on a boat.
Crown Therapeutics, maker of the Roho wheelchair cushions, also offers air floatation products for the wheelchair back, supplemental lumbar or sacral support, full bed cushions, and even a product for a standard toilet seat. All are inflatable to adjust to your needs.
A longtime presence in disability magazines has been an ad for the "Bye-Bye Decubiti" cushion. It is inflatable, comes in many different sizes and shapes, is made of heavy duty rubber, and--although different from the Roho balloon design--is uniquely formed to minimize pressure at the bony protrusions on which we sit.
The balloons used in air cushions can be punctured, of course, and leaks do occur, although a fairly heavy duty rubber is used. But patching them is easier than with the gel design. The hard part is submerging the cushion under water to find the leak (look for escaping air bubbles).
The biggest drawback to air wheelchair cushions is that they require more maintenance. It is necessary to check the pressure frequently, especially if you have pressure sores.