In the 5th and final article in this series on pressure ulcers we’re taking a look at a range of high-quality pressure-relieving wheelchair cushions – the Star Cushion range: high-risk, high performance pressure-relieving cushions.
Now Owned by Etac
The Star cushion range was originally produced by a family-owned US business, Star Cushion Products Inc. which was founded in 1995. To the delight of customers, the Star cushion range is now produced by Etac, the Scandinavian specialist in world-class mobility solutions, after they purchased Star Cushion Products in 2016. Customers can now rely on the exacting quality standards and controls they have come to expect from the Etac Group.
The Star Lock cushion has long been a stand out performer and the most well-known cushion in the Star range due to its unique air cell locking capabilities:
- It is designed and clinically proven to deal with stage 4 pressure ulcers, and
- Can be used to correct pelvic obliquities.
But now, more and more healthcare professionals are realising the benefits of the rest of the range as well because of their combined pressure relieving and positioning properties.
And, to the relief of healthcare professionals dealing with pressure care and wheelchair positioning, the Star Range has been approved for inclusion on the new HSE framework.
Pressure Ulcer Costs: Treatment vs Prevention
As the earlier articles in this series noted, the cost of preventing and treating pressure ulcers can be considerable, with figures from the European Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (EPUAP) indicating that the cost of treating a pressure ulcer can be as much as €70,000 per year.
However, according to a 2015 systematic review of the cost of prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers (link), the cost of treatment can reach 5 times higher than the cost of prevention.
The review found that the cost of pressure ulcer prevention per patient per day varied between €2.65 to €87.57 across all settings while the cost of pressure ulcer treatment per patient per day ranged from €1.71 to €470.49 across different settings.
The Star cushion range provide cost-effective options for medical professionals with low-risk to high-risk patients. All of the cushions in the range provide preventative benefits but the Star Lock also allows for the treatment of stage IV ulcers without having to restrict the patient to bed rest.
Challenges for Long Term Wheelchair Users
Anyone who is using a wheelchair all day, every day, faces 2 major health challenges:
- Pressure relief, and
- Good positioning
The Occupational Therapist’s role
It is the role of the person’s occupational therapist to manage their pressure relief and their seating posture to prevent them from developing pressure ulcers and posture issues and well as to managing any pressure sores that might develop.
In today’s medical setting, the prospect of providing effective pressure relief can be daunting for someone who is deemed high-risk. Often someone with a stage 4 pressure sore can get quite ill quite quickly and as this series has explained, the detriment can be great.
The occupational therapist has the challenge of making sure that the healthcare team has performed an accurate risk assessment for the user and making sure they pick the right pressure-relieving cushion for them.
Effective prevention and treatment for pressure ulcers
The Star cushion range provides the healthcare professional with solutions to the wheelchair user’s 2 major challenges in a single package:
- Effective prevention and treatment for pressure ulcers, and
- Effective user positioning.
The Star cushions consist of neoprene air cells. When set correctly, the Star cushion range provides the highest level of therapeutic prevention and treatment for all pressure ulcer categories. Each cushion provides unique benefits to the user depending on their needs.
Their increasing popularity among prescribing occupational therapists hardly comes as a surprise as the cushion’s reliability gives the therapist the confidence that they have the right product under their patient, providing the right results.
Effective positioning and stability properties
The Star cushions also have great positioning and stability properties, effectively enveloping the body structures and providing selective support that can be controlled by the therapist to suit the user’s needs.
The combination of these qualities provides a high level of comfort for the user and increases their sitting tolerance over time which is another of the reasons the Star cushions are becoming a favourite of prescribing medical professionals.
A Closer Look at the Star Cushion Range
There are 4 cushions in the Star Cushion range – the Star Lock, Star Galaxy, Star Stabil-Air and Star Standard Air. As we take a closer look at the Star range, it would be wrong not to start with the stand-out performer – the Star Lock cushion.
The Star Lock Cushion
The Star Lock cushion has long been the preferred wheelchair cushion for users with stage 4 pressure ulcers. Normally, a person with a stage 4 pressure ulcer would face having to be confined to a bed until the ulcer is healed. With the Star Lock cushion, the person can keep using their wheelchair while their pressure ulcer heals.
This is because the unique locking feature allows the treating healthcare professionals to locate the point of contact between the sore and the cushion, open the airlock, release the air in the cells in contact with the ulcer, and lock it again.
This creates a zero-pressure zone where the sore is located while still providing the user with support for the rest of the area. This zero pressure helps the ulcer to heal. For the user this means relief and comfort, and often means being back at home rather than having to go into care.
The Star Lock also enables OTs to correct users’ pelvic obliquities, an important part of posture management.
The Star Galaxy
The Star Galaxy cushion’s stand-out feature is that it has unique anatomically-shaped cells that provide immediate immersion and stability for the user, enveloping around their bodies structure and specific form. Its middle-rear cells are designed to offload the coccyx which can help pain sensitive users to improve their sitting tolerance.
The Galaxy cushion is also divided into two separate compartments, one in the front and one in the back, to allow the occupational therapist to enhance the pressure redistribution depending on the user’s needs.
The Stabil-Air blends air and foam. Each of the cushion’s air cells have soft foam cylinders within them. What’s more is that there are two sizes of foam cylinders. The cylinders on the outside of the cushion are higher, while those under the buttocks, coccyx and legs are lower, creating an anatomically shaped secondary layer of skin protection.
This provides the user with increased stability and eases transfer to and from the cushion.
The Star Standard Air
Last but certainly not least in the range is the Star Standard Air. The Standard Air is a single-chamber air cushion with neoprene cells that shape around the buttocks redistributing the user’s weight and reducing their risk of developing pressure sores.
The standard air completes the range providing a simpler, yet highly effective pressure relieving cushion to help prevent wheelchair users from developing pressure sores.
For more information on the Star cushion range or to arrange a demonstration, contact one of our product specialists by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is part 5 of a 5-part series on pressure care and pressure ulcers to help raise awareness of pressure ulcers as part of STOP Pressure Ulcers 2019. Why not play your part and share this article or one of the others and help raise awareness of the importance of pressure management for preventing pressure ulcers.