Development and Validation of a Clinical Measure of Wheelchair Seat Cushion Degradation

Project Type
Principal Investigator Name
Michelle Nemeth PT/Stephen Sprigle PhD, PT
Principal Investigator Email
Start Date:
End Date:
Participating Centers:
Target Population(s):
individuals with neurological diagnosis who use a "skin protection" cushion as defined by CMS, at least 18 years of age
The purpose of this study is to determine the life of a wheelchair cushion within real world use and to develop a valid clinical measure that can be feasibly integrated into the busy clinic setting to assess the point when seat cushion replacement is needed. This project includes phase one to develop and evaluate a model followed by phase two of testing to develop and validate a clinical measure of seat cushion degradation. The study requires subjects to transfer onto a pressure sensing mat placed between the person and their seat cushion. Their seat cushion will be removed from the wheelchair and tested. Self-report and clinically assessed variables from the seating evaluation will be assessed including body weight, postural assessment, sensory status, activity level, continence, effectiveness of weight relief, transfer method, number of transfers/day, and average daily time in chair. Evidence suggests that seat cushion use is an effective approach to prevention of pressure ulcers. This study will compile evidence to determine whether the current durable medical equipment replacement “guideline” is appropriate for wheelchair cushions. The project will also generate a useful assessment tool for clinicians and users to determine when a wheelchair cushion needs to be replaced.