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Thread: Pressure gauge for Roho cushions?

  1. #1
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
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    Pressure gauge for Roho cushions?

    Does any one know it there is a pressure gauge available for Roho cushions?
    It's unbelievable to me that a SCI person has to sit on a cushion, that he or she does not know if its inflated correctly or not. Once the individual knows that their cushion pressure is set correctly, we should be able to check regularly, if its the same. My buddy's went flat and he could not feel it. Of course it ended up in a pressure sore.
    Systam makes a cushion, POLYAIR 100, that comes with a pressure gauge.
    Has anyone tried these cushions?
    Thanks, MAC

  2. #2
    As far as I know, the only way to tell if there's the proper quantity of air in the Roho cushion is to sit on it and feel with a finger between the ischials and the seat bottom. That quantity of air is different for different people, with different shaped rear ends. When you're not on the cushion, the pressure in it is very low, probably too low to measure accurately anyway. I recall another thread on this subject a while ao; I think SCI nurse mentioned that Roho at one time did sell pressure gauges, but decided to stop in view of what I've just mentioned.
    - Richard

  3. #3
    rfbdorf is absolutely correct. Maximum immersion of your bony prominences without bottoming out is the goal. After 4 years of doing it the hard way, I discovered that it is much easier to get your hand all the way under your ischial tuberosity if you put your hand in a plastic sandwich bag. Roho recommends that there should be a gap of between 1/2 to 1" between the lowest bony prominence and the seat surface. Unless it's a Low Profile Roho, 1/2" isn't much of a gap. My rule of thumb is that you should be able to wiggle your fingers freely without feeling pinched between the seat surface and your bottom.

  4. #4
    Senior Member CapnGimp's Avatar
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    there IS a company not roho, who markets a gauge. I'm with the rest of civilization, your BEST bet is the hand method roho teaches. I go with an inch minimum.
    A STRONG word of caution in cold weather... Overinflate inside before going out in the cold for any amount of time IF you have a cold lower body. Otherwise, the pressure drop in the cushion will have you bottomed out. Some folks are able to keep their lower body warm and it keeps the cushion warm. Not me.
    Temperature and altitude/pressure changes greatly affect the cushion. Boyles law, basically the volume is directly proportional to the temperature and pressure.

    Ya have to keep an eye on your POSTURE to know when it is deflating. One of those things ya gotta keep an eye on in life.

  5. #5
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
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    Thanks for the information. Trouble is my fingers don't work and my hands have feeling but I don't know what it is. The attendants that are provided for me would have no clue how to do a finger measure test.
    The pressure in the cushion, when you are sitting on it, if its correct and the temperature in your house is steady, should always be the same. This should be able to be measured, so that a person with no feeling, looking down, would be able to tell if they are safe or not. Never knowing if my cushion is correctly inflated or not, is a risk I hate to have to take. Basically, it sucks. Especially when cushions cost $400.00. This is a simple engineering task. Like I said Systam makes a cushion that comes with a pressure gauge, they must of had a good reason to include it.
    Thanks, MAC

  6. #6
    Senior Member CapnGimp's Avatar
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    I've used them over 10 years so I know by looking down if mine is deflated or headed that way. The finger test= put two fingers(index and middle) underneath the LOWEST part of your butt, usually ischials, and this is approximately an inch/safe height. You should have a bit of wiggle room with the two fingers, NOT squashing them. I tend to go a bit more pressure than that as I bounce around on rough surfaces and lean over a lot picking up stuff. I am pure bone, so it digs in more when I lean.
    Seriously, these are the safest cushions out there. I NEVER do pressure lifts. Gave that up when I got my First roho.
    I use a pillow case for my cover. It is cheap(black king size from wally world) I found that tucking the excess in all the way to the front helped 'lock" the cover in place, shorter ones tend to let it slide out. Plus it is easily washed, I have a few of them. And it doesn't let as much dirt through. Solved the 'expanding' cover problem in one fell swoop. They don't stretch. There is spomeone here who MAKES covers for them for about 20 bucks. Without full hand use, you might want to go that route or get a replacement from roho. I just hate spending 40 bucks on a cover. I WAS gonna sew zippers on them, bought it all, just never got around to it, yet.
    Look around, you can get a cushion for under 300 new or on ebay for under 100 sometimes.
    I have to get another of the proper size, my cat ripped a big hole in my main one. The patch is holding for now, I just don't want to take a chance.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by forestranger52
    ...
    The pressure in the cushion, when you are sitting on it, if its correct and the temperature in your house is steady, should always be the same. This should be able to be measured, so that a person with no feeling, looking down, would be able to tell if they are safe or not...
    When you're sitting on it, the pressure in your Roho will be nearly the same whether the distance from your skin to the seat bottom is 1-1/2 inch (overinflated), 3/4 inch, or 1/1000 inch (underinflated) - in either case, the pressure will be close to your weight (less some depending on how much the foot rests support your legs) divided by the surface area of your butt. If it's way overinflated, then yes, the pressure will be high. If it's very underinflated, so that part of you is riding directly on the hard chair surface, then the pressure will indeed be reduced, but it's too late then. The point is - if you have only say 1/1000 inch free, the pressure will look OK, but you will almost certainly bottom out later in the day.
    Nevertheless, I agree that it would be nice to be able to determine the correct amount of air by a method other than sticking the fingers down there.
    - Richard

  8. #8
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
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    If you are sitting on a emply air bag on the ground. You put in 10 pounds of air. It lifts you up 1 inch. You put 20 pounds of air in the bag. It lifts you up 2 inches. You put in 30 pounds of air. Up another inch. Just an example. There should be a difference in the air pressure between a corectely inflated cushion vs one thats underinflated. Like air shocks on a car, the more you inflate them, the higher they go. Otherwise why do they pump cushions up?
    Thanks, MAC

  9. #9
    This isn't quite the same case as an air shock or a tire. The region of interest here is where the air bladder (cushion) is quite flaccid when no one's sitting on it. Let me show you a thought-experiment:
    Imagine a vertical cylinder with cross-sectional area one inch. Free to move up and down in the cylinder is a piston that weighs one pound. At the bottom of the cylinder is an air pump and pressure gauge. Run the pump until the piston is 1" above the bottom. The pressure in the cylinder will be one pound per square inch: 1 psi. Run the pump some more, until the piston is one foot high. There is now 12 times the air in the cylinder than before, yet the internal pressure is still 1 psi.
    Now, in actuality, what I'm saying isn't 100% like that example, but it's much closer to the truth.
    For a properly inflated cushion, the distance between your bottom and the chair is roughly proportional to the amount of air in the cushion, which is not the same thing as the pressure of the air in the cushion.
    - Richard

  10. #10
    Senior Member forestranger52's Avatar
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    I understand. There is another cushion company that agrees with me. Systam provides a manometer with their Polyair 100 cushion. They explain how maintaining a constant pressure, that you know, is critical in protecting people from pressure sores. Check it out at www.systam.com and download the brochure for the Polyair 100.
    There has to be some way, for a person with out hands and fingers that work, to be able to know if their cushion is safe or not. Possibly an instrument that would measure the volume of air that is either in the cushion, or gets put in the cushion.
    Thank you. MAC

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