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Comparison of Shower Chair Seat Modules by Pressure Mapping
The aim of these case studies is to establish, by using the modelling capabilities
of a digital pressure sensing and mapping tool, which shower chair and seat
combination offers patients the most protection from tissue injury through
Our focus in these trials is on users that have a spinal injury; this subset of users
tend to present with the highest requirement for pressure relief. Experience
tells us that a user with a spinal injury often presents with some or all of the
following characteristics when using a commode chair:
• Paralysis and sensory impairment - you can’t tell if something is irritating
your skin
• They may not have the ability to move themselves to relieve any discomfort
or pain
• Particularly prominent ischial tuberosities and other bony prominences as a
result of muscle atrophy
• Altered circulation can reduce blood supply to tissues, which increases the
risk of skin problems, but slows the healing process
• They often have the requirement to transfer sideways to and from their
We have undertaken two separate trials so far. For both trials we used a FSA and
Boditrak unit with a standard seat sensor, 455mm x 455mm with 256 sensor
points, calibrated to a maximum of 300mmHg and connected to a laptop pc.
Prior experience has shown that whilst most pressure mapping systems are
calibrated to a maximum of 200mmHg, this is not sufficient for the purposes of
mapping a seat where a large portion of the surface is removed (as in the case of
a shower chair/commode seat).
Trial 1 - Hospital Ward, male user, approx 50 years old
The ward standard chair at the time of the trial is Freeway T70. The user was
able to transfer himself from his wheelchair to the shower chairs, and then
bridge to enable the pressure map cushion to be placed in the right way.
Trial 2 - Home setting, male user, 29 years old
Currently using a Chiltern chair. The user was able to transfer himself from his
wheelchair to the shower chairs, and then bridge to enable the pressure map
cushion to be placed in the right way.
The purpose of this evaluation is to measure the pressure imposed by the seats
of popular shower commode chairs currently in circulation in the UK. These
trials have included products from Prism/Freeway, Invacare and Raz.
Pressure ulcers in spinal
cord injury represent a
challenging problem for
patients, their caregivers,
and their physicians. They
often lead to recurrent
multiple surgeries, and
potentially devastating
complications. They
present a significant
cost to the healthcare
system, they require
a multidisciplinary
team approach to
manage well, and
outcomes directly
depend on patients’
education, prevention,
and compliance with
conservative and surgical
With so many factors
involved in the successful
treatment of pressure
ulcers, an update on
their comprehensive
management in spinal
cord injury is warranted.
Abstract from article
published by US National
Library of Medicine,
management of pressure
ulcers in spinal cord
injury: Current concepts
and future trends’,
Nov 2013
Trial 1
In this trial the patient was using a Prism T70 on the ward. The Senior Outpatient OT was specifically searching for a
chair which could provide pressure relief whilst maintaining usability for the patient.
The patient was mapped on the T70 with a Medium Horseshoe seat module, on the RAZ AT with a 19” deep moulded
seat module, and on the Raz AT with a 19” deep visco seat module. He also transferred to the Aquatec Ocean VIP
which was equipped with an ergonomic soft seat. However he could not tolerate the seat for long enough to have
mapping done, and the OT advised him to move off the chair to prevent tissue damage.
Freeway Seat Module
RAZ Seat Module
Trial 2
In this trial, the patient offered to assist us with research into seat pressures. As a spinal injury patient advocate, he
was interested in accumulating knowledge around seat pressures in shower and wheel chairs.
The patient was mapped on the Prism T80 with a medium horseshoe seat module, the Aquatec Ocean VIP with a
regular soft seat, and the RAZ AT with 19” deep visco seat module.
Freeway T80
Freeway T80