Abstract

Occupational therapists frequently prescribe wheelchair cushions to reduce the risk of pressure sores in patients with spinal cord injury. In an earlier study (Garber, 1985b), Roho cushions were prescribed for the greatest number of subjects studied. The present study of 197 subjects updates these data and describes current prescription patterns, the use of cushions over time, satisfaction with prescribed cushions, and the occurrence of pressure sores with prescribed cushions. The study shows that the Jay cushion was prescribed most frequently for the current subjects, although it was not recommended for all persons with spinal cord injury. In the second phase of the present study, involving 30 subjects, 30% of the subjects discontinued use of the prescribed cushion. Skin breakdown and the discovery of alternative solutions were given as primary reasons. There was no significant difference in the incidence of pressure sores between subjects who continued to use their prescribed cushions and those who did not. This research supports the conclusion of earlier studies that no one wheelchair cushion is universally effective for all persons and that individual evaluation and routine reassessment are essential in reducing the occurrence of pressure sores.

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