Education in Motion / Videos / Seating Technology: An Analytical Approach

Seating Technology: An Analytical Approach

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Clinicians working in seating and mobility have a wider choice of seating materials, shapes, and technology than at any point in the past. Understanding the relationship between human biomechanics, seating shapes, and materials is essential for the most successful outcomes for clients with mobility needs. This one-hour session will review the key factors in posture, skin integrity & function, and how to provide seating technology to meet those needs.


At the conclusion of this educational session, participants will be able to do the following:

  1. Identify the four major factors in skin breakdown and how to approach them in clinical decision-making.
  2. Articulate at least one advantage and disadvantage of the most common wheelchair seating cushion materials.
  3. Describe the seating factors for pelvic and spinal postural asymmetries in seating.
Faith Brown, OT

Presented by Faith Brown, OT

Frequently Asked Questions

There was a lot of information in a short time on this during the training. There are some posted resources on cushion materials and design here on Education in Motion.

Manufacturers provide a recommended user weight limit to guide provision. These are usually available on their website, or in other informational materials.

Bariatric clients often may actually be at slightly less risk of bottoming out on fluid cushions due to the presence of soft tissue over the seating area, whilst very slim clients may actually have more acute boney prominences. Best practice is to check at time of assessment, handover and encourage the client to do the same daily fluid maintenance.

Gel is a polymer, often silicone-based, that has a consistency much like a firm gelatin and compresses slightly rather than displacing. Fluid flows from one place to another within its containing sac, so is better for immersion than gel. For a more thorough discussion and printable resource, check out "Material Selection in Cushions" here on Education in Motion.

Even in rarely truly hot Britain, the heat and moisture levels at the skin surface are a recognized factor in skin integrity. These effects are all the more important to consider in an even warmer climate.

Would suggest you have a look at the two-part blog on microclimate here on the Education in Motion website. There are also some useful resources on Education in Motion with downloadable, printable resources that go into properties in more detail here.

Gel polymers feel cool initially but warm up to body temperature quickly and can be a little sweaty due to the plastic top layer, although toweling or thick air exchange-type covers (like 3D spacer) can help.

Fluid-type cushions (for example JAY 2, JAY Fusion, Ottobock Floam, Invacare Solution) are generally a little cooler but tend to warm up similarly. There is one significant exception to this in that one new fluid cushion has special technology to manage microclimate. Further details are in the links above.

Cushions with air-exchange covers, base material with channels for airflow can help allow moisture to evaporate, which can help with skin cooling.

Its official name is "Hammie," and it's available at

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