Wheelchair Cushions for the Elderly

Hi. My mother is now legally blind and confined to a wheelchair all day as the result of a stroke two years ago. Please advise what type of wheelchair cushion is the best to reduce pressure sores on her bottom. I have seen egg carton foam and gel with foam. Also, are there any groups that visit nursing homes for prayer? Thanks.

Barbara in Maryland, 59

The best way to address seat cushions for your mother's wheelchair and any other chair she may sit on is to ask her primary doctor. It's smart to ask the nurses for their opinion regarding the particular issues that your mother is dealing with. I also regularly involve the Physical and/or Occupational Therapist that may be treating your mother. These professionals know her particular needs and circumstances better than anyone else.

You are looking for several specifics, such as:

* Increasing her comfort level

* Decreasing the pressure to her sitdown area

* Increasing air circulation

* Keeping the area clean and odor free

Regarding prayer, most nursing facilities have a religious component on site such as a visiting pastor, priest, and/or rabbi. These persons are usually affiliated with the nursing facility and have once a week visitations. They also often perform other regularly scheduled services at the homes, and are available on an as-needed basis in the event of severe illness or impending death.

If your mother was affiliated with a particular religious group before arriving at her nursing facility, you may want to contact that group to see if they have a "visiting the ill” or “visiting those in hospitals or institutions committee." If the religious needs of an individual are brought to the facility’s attention, they often have suggestions. Just having religious or spiritual material on tape to listen to at convenient times may also fill the need. If none of these suggestions help, some nursing facilities have volunteers or a recreation therapy department that may be able to help.

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