Today is my first full day with my new wheelchair cushion. I have been using the Jay 3 foam and fluid-filled cushion in the standard height for some years now, and did not feel comfortable with it. I felt that, for me, the fluid was not supportive or comfortable enough. I also found that the fluid was very sensitive to temperatures and so when the weather was cold it would go hard and be more uncomfortable. A long time ago, I used gel cushions but they had the same thing going on with the comfort level of the fluid. In 2010, I tried my first air cushion, the Vicair Twin. I realised that air made me more comfortable for all-day use. The disadvantage of it for me was that there was not enough positioning support and the cover, which was mesh, made me slip during transfers. I still have the Vicair and it’s in good condition with only 1 broken air sac. Another disadvantage to it, I find, is the height. At 6cm high, it’s low for me. I use it when relaxing on my bed.
When I first got my Jay 3 fluid cushion, it was comfortable but became very uncomfortable after a few years of use. When it bottomed out, I knew it was time to look for something else. I was assessed by different technicians who made suggestions .
After a lot of looking around and trying out cushions (Roho Mid and High Profile cushions) and getting some suggestions which I know would not have been appropriate for me, I finally settled on the Jay 3 again, but this time went for the Deep Profile one to have more protection. I chose 2 air valves in my Roho insert because one side of my pelvis is higher than the other and both are twisted inwards which affects the posture of my feet and legs.
My. body feels most relaxed with the 2-valve air cushion. It has firm foam for positioning at the front and sides and an air insert (made by Roho) at the back. The extra height compared to the standard version as well as the extra protection means I’m much more comfortable too.
This is what the cushion looks like inside. The air cushion is lighter than the fluid (gel) one too, so easier for whoever is transferring me to move if needed. I was very nearly going to choose the Roho Quadtro Select but was a little unstable on it as it is all air cells, and so finally went for the Jay 3 Deep Profile air cushion.
I feel happy with it and I’m sat a little straighter, not leaning to one side so much as I was with the gel cushion. I trialled the “personalised inserts” for the gel cushion in the wheelchair shop over a year ago when my cushion search started but decided against them as they made no difference to my comfort or posture.
I found out about custom- moulded seating by Otto Bock and that seemed a great idea because of the options they give you but the downside for me was the cost- it would have been the most expensive seating option and was out of my budget.
I didn’t feel like anything but the Jay 3 Air cushion would have met my needs and was put off the Roho Quadtro Select by the amount of YouTube videos of people looking for punctures in theirs which seemed like a long process. Seeing as I can’t do any chair/ cushion maintenance myself and have not had a lot of luck with technicians lately I didn’t feel confident enough in going for the Quadtro Select. Plus, the only way to get my size would have been custom sizes and that was expensive too.
Maybe I’ll try a Quadtro Select in the future but for now I’m happy with my Jay 3 air cushion. I don’t have hip or back pain anymore and am liking the Roho air insert. I think I made the right choice by buying it. It’s a good cushion for positioning and stability. Although I still get unstable and always will (I tend to lean to the side and forwards when my body feels like it). I have positioning wedges on the cushion too.
It works well with the Jay 3 deep shoulder height backrest I have.