HomeHealth & Wellness after SCISkin Care and Pressure UlcersPressure Relief in a Power Chair-RRTC

3.3. Pressure Relief in a Power Chair-RRTC

Pressure Reliefs in a Power Wheelchair

 

Tilting or Reclining

One way to perform a pressure relief is to make your chair tilt or recline to take the pressure off your buttocks and boney areas.

Stay in a tilt position for at least 30 seconds every 15-30 minutes unless a different amount of time is recommended by your medical team. Make sure you get training from your health care provider on how to tilt or recline in the chair that YOU use.  It is important to make sure you are relieving enough pressure and also doing it safely!  Talk with your health care provider about how you should position your seat belt when tilting or reclining. 

Tilt Systems maintain the seat-to-back angle of your chair the same but change the angle of your seating system relative to the ground.

Research supports using maximum tilt to properly relieve pressure and assure adequate blood flow.  You should consult your medical health professionals to determine the tilt angle that will provide you the most appropriate pressure relief.

Recline systems can elevate your legs and open the seat-to-back angle of your chair to reduce the pressure.  The seat angle stays the same with respect to the ground.  Your health care provider will help you find the most appropriate technique and technology to assist you with your pressure relief.

 

Leaning Forward

Turn off your power chair before starting this activity and reposition your seat belt as needed.

To perform this pressure relief, lean forward to remove pressure from your buttocks.  Don't try this alone unless you are sure you are able to get back up!  The key is to make sure you have pressure off your buttocks and boney areas.  One option is to lean forward and rest your chest or elbows on your knees.

Another method is to lean forward on a desk or table.  Lean forward in your chair until your boney areas are off your cushion and hold that position for 15 seconds every 15 minutes or 30 seconds every 30 minutes (unless a different amount of time is recommended by your medical team).

A Modified Leaning Side to Side 

Turn off your power chair before starting this activity and reposition your seat belt as needed.  

Don't try this alone unless you are sure you are able to get back up!

One way to perform a pressure relief is to lean to your side to take pressure off your opposite buttock.  Please note that this is considered only half of a pressure relief because only one buttock is lifted at a time.  You will need to perform this pressure relief to each side for 15 seconds every 15 minutes or 30 seconds every 30 minutes (unless your medical team recommends a different amount of time).

This participant is demonstrating a modified leaning side to side pressure relief by hooking her elbow behind the wheelchair push handle.  She could have used the back rest to do this as well.  Lean to the left side until the right buttock including the boney area is lifted off your seat cushion. 

You may need to push through the arm rest of your chair and lock out your right elbow to achieve the full weight shift and clearance.  Now, do a pressure relief to the other side, reversing the procedure.

You can also use a table or other solid object to lean against for help.  When you have finished your pressure relief, you can push off the table to help you return to sitting. You may also be able pull yourself up using your wheelchair arm rest, back or push handle. Next, do a pressure relief to the other side.  

Disclaimer

This fact sheet only provides general information.  It is only for informational and educational purposes and should not be used to diagnose or treat a medical condition.  It is not a substitute for professional medical advice relative to your specific medical conditions.  Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified health provider before starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have about your medical condition.

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