Pressure Mapping Wheelchair Systems: The What, How, and Why

If you work in a hospital or clinic that serves patients who use a wheelchair—either temporarily or permanently—you already know how important it is to get them a chair that fits. Bodies come in different shapes and sizes; what fits one person won’t necessarily fit another.

Even more important, the correct pressure mapping wheelchair systems allow you to perform continuous skin monitoring. This is critical for reducing pressure sores, which are painful and debilitating and can lead to severe infection.

We’ll examine why pressure mapping wheelchair sensors are important. We’ll also discuss what they are and how continuous skin monitoring plays an important role. Don’t wait any longer to upgrade your clinic’s abilities and keep your patients healthy.

What Are Pressure Mapping Wheelchair Systems?

A pressure mapping wheelchair system is a simple concept, even if the execution requires a high degree of technology. A mapping system uses incredibly fine-tuned sensors embedded in a mat. When you spread that mat over a surface—e.g., a bed, seat, or wheelchair—you can see where high and low-pressure areas accrue.

The sensors take pressure readings and send them to software for processing. The software then paints a picture of what’s happening between the body and the surface. High pressure is represented in red and orange, while medium pressure is shown in yellow and low in green or blue.

A sound pressure mapping system will provide high-resolution accurate data, crunched numbers, and a 2D or image. You can run as many tests as needed depending on the information you need. Or you can provide your patient with continuous skin monitoring in the hospital. This is important during surgery while recovering in a bed or using an inpatient chair.

Why Do You Need Pressure Mapping for Wheelchairs?

Why is pressure mapping for wheelchair systems beneficial? In short, because everyone is different. Wheelchair users have only one thing in common: They must use a chair.

Everything else is unique to the individual, including:

  • Their Mobility: Many people can walk but choose not to for long outings that might leave them exhausted or in severe pain. Others have limited mobility in their legs, so they like using them in a wheelchair to keep them strong.
  • Angles: Some people need to lean back in their chairs to reduce pressure on their spines, hips, legs, and more. Others like to lean forward more, helping them direct the chair. Still, others must lean to either side to accommodate a fragile or healing body part.
  • Body Size and Shape: A skinny person needs more cushioning than a heavier person. On the other hand, the heavier body type will need padding between the edge of their body and the chair’s arms, which could otherwise dig uncomfortably into their skin.

Where cushioning is needed depends on so many individual factors that pressure mapping is almost required to do a thorough job of providing for their needs. Perhaps more importantly, pressure mapping allows you to perform continuous skin monitoring, which is critical for anyone in a wheelchair.

Pressure Mapping and Continuous Skin Monitoring

One of the best ways to use a pressure-mapping wheelchair system is for continuous skin monitoring. You can tell where high-pressure areas are at the outset of sitting in the chair and where they develop over time. This leads to many benefits.

Needed Customization

Continuous skin monitoring from a pressure-mapping wheelchair system will help you see where the cushioning needs to be. This may change over time, and continuous monitoring will reflect that.

Increased Comfort

If the wheelchair user must frequently adjust throughout the day, you will need different customized setups to keep them comfortable. With sensors, you can see where most pressure develops and create exercises to help alleviate pain.

Fewer Pressure Sores

Perhaps the most significant pressure mapping wheelchair sensors can offer is preventing pressure sores. These are areas of the body where the skin and muscle are thin and bony prominences rub against the chair surface. Common spots where pressure sores develop include the tailbone, hip bones, shoulder blades, and other bony prominences of the body.

Pressure sores occur because these body parts are constantly pressed against the surface without relief, which reduces circulation, rubs skin raw, causes bruising, becomes painful, is hard to wash, and can require serious treatment for infection.

Sensors can alleviate this problem by showing you exactly where the pressure gets applied. This isn’t always intuitive, so a sensor-based system is essential. With sensors, you can take up-to-the-second recordings of the body’s weight distribution and provide proper cushioning.

The Best Pressure Mapping Wheelchair Systems on the Market

Are you looking to provide your patients with the best possible experience? Do you want to heal them as quickly as possible, with minimal complications? Would you like more data-based inputs in your clinic or lab? If you’re like most medical professionals, the answer is a resounding “yes,” and pressure mapping wheelchair technology can help you do that.

With XSENSOR’s ForeSite SS Wheelchair Seating system, you can say goodbye to complex systems that require endless customization before they work. Forget about endless recalibration and futzing with inputs. Now, you can pull our sensor mats right out of the box, lay them on a wheelchair, and start collecting the needed data.

Want to learn more about how XSENSOR systems work? Book a demo today!

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