Many facilities maintain an inventory of wheelchair cushions in their storage closets. Some of those cushions have been there for quite some time. How do you know that they are still going to properly relieve pressure for your patients?
If it’s an air cushion – a ROHO or a Star or something like that – as long as it’ll still hold air, you’re good to go. Some of those air cushions may be 15 - 20 years old, but they’re still performing well because they are still able to hold air; there isn’t any breakdown of the materials.
The key thing you will see with the gel cushions is that they start to feel a little rocky within that gel itself. So, if you start to feel that crystallization, that’s a sign that the cushion is past its prime, and it may be time for it to be replaced.
With the foam, what will happen more often than not, is that you will see compression. So, if you can pick up the cushion and you see the imprint of the person who was on it last, that’s a good sign that that cushion is ready to be replaced.