Mobility aids: VELA chairs for elderly and disabled

Mobility aids: VELA chairs for elderly and disabled


The Vela Chairs are a piece of mobility equipment that helps people with different mobility restrictions have a better life, by being able to do different tasks without the help of a carer or loved one.

The Vela chair is ideal for people who have mobility restrictions due to age or due to permanent or temporary health conditions, such as MS, strokes, cerebral palsy, and other types of mobility impairments.

To read personal stories, please go to our news page for more:

Mobility aid nz

A VELA chair for the elderly and disabled helps with:

  • Better balance makes you want to do more
    When you feel tired, it’s worth sitting down on a safe chair with a brake. This means you can continue your activity without losing your balance.


  • Safety and security
    You get a chair that you can walk/push around while sitting down. This means increased mobility where you can move around safely at home without fear of falling – and you have two free hands for your task.


  • Increased independence
    A safe, stable and mobile chair make it easier to get started with, for example, light cleaning and cooking. Getting dressed and visiting the toilet is also more accessible, as the chair supports you, so you can save your strength and make your energy last longer.


  • Help for standing up
    The chair helps you get up into a standing position. It has an electric lift so that you can get up with minimal effort.



chairs for elderly

VELA chairs are mobility aids for the elderly and disabled

One benefit of using a VELA chair as a mobility aid for the elderly or disabled is that it can protect you from falling. You can sit down and walk/push yourself around wherever you want. You can lower the seat height of your chair, so that you can reach the floor with your feet.

This means you can walk the mobility chair around your home. Walk from your kitchen and into your living room, bedroom or bathroom while sitting down. If you want to move from your chair to the sofa, lock the brake on the chair, tilt the armrest to the side and just slide off the chair.

The Vela chair is basically a disability chairs with wheels. It looks like any other chair but can assist you to do daily tasks without much effort.
It’s easy to move around at home, as the chair has smooth-running wheels, so you can ‘walk’/push yourself forward while sitting down in the chair.

Specialist chairs for the elderly: Reach high and low with an electric lift

If you’re looking for specialist chairs for the elderly, this is where you’ll find them.

A specialist chair with an electric lift is for those who are quickly drained of energy. The chair moves up and down at the touch of a button, so you can reach things on the top shelf or at the bottom of the cupboard. It also makes it easier to get the right working height by the oven, and you can sit safely and securely and use both hands.



Mobility equipment New Zealand

An aid that helps you get up easily

The specialist chair helps you with extra support when you need to get up. Simply press the button, and the chair rises so that you can get up safely and securely without straining.

Use a VELA chair as disability equipment for standing up. Simply press the button on the electric disability chair, and the seat rises gently. When the chair brake is engaged, you will feel completely safe and secure while the seat moves up. Let yourself slide forward and end up standing upright in front of the chair. This means the chair helps you to stand up fully – without any effort.

Sit down instead of standing
Fill and empty the dishwasher while sitting down – it’s easy to adjust the seat to a low height and just as easy to readjust it to a normal height.


Save your energy by sitting down rather than standing up.

The Vela chair brings independence to people’s lives because it helps the individual glide from room to room, task to task, without the physical effort of getting up. The ability to be able to push the chair with the legs instead of the arms gives the user the freedom to perform tasks that before couldn’t due to the arms having to do the work to get from one point to the other.




Mobility aid for elderly and disabled

Independence chair – a great help when cooking

Our disability equipment can help improve your endurance and balance in multiple situations. It can help you at home, in the bathroom, in the wardrobe or at your workplace. One of the most important things a VELA disability chair contributes to is the feeling of independence.

An independence chair at home is a perfect assistant in the kitchen when you need to reach plates in the top cupboard and a chopping board in the bottom drawer. The chair becomes your help and support, and it saves you a lot of effort staying upright.

Regain your independence with Vela Chairs

With a Vela chair, you or your client can feel independent again. Not only because simply daily task become easier, but also because there is no need for a carer to be present at all times.

The Vela chair also helps the user to have more energy as the stress or fear of falling dissapears.



For more information about the Vela brand, please head to our partners website:

Is there a risk of bottoming out when using a Vicair cushion incorrectly?

1 Introduction

Vicair cushions provide optimal skin protection when used correctly. But we must also keep in mind that sometimes a cushion is inadvertently placed incorrectly in a wheelchair. The cushion can end up backwards or rotated in the wrong direction in the wheelchair. It is also conceivable that a cushion could end up upside down in the cover, for example after cleaning, and therefore end up unseen upside down in a wheelchair. Incorrect placement can also be due to the fact that a wheelchair is often measured with two fingers (4cm) of space between the user’s calves and the front of the cushion. Thus, the cushion may be placed so far forward that it touches the user’s calves. For wheelchairs with an open back support, the cushion may also be placed too far to the back of the wheelchair.

Therefore the aim of this research was to find out what the risks are for the user when a cushion is used incorrectly. It is important to research whether there is bottoming out and how well the risk zones are protected against high-pressure forces. Bottoming out is defined as the state of support surface deformation beyond critical immersion whereby effective pressure redistribution is lost (EPUAP/ NPIAP guideline).


  1. Method

To answer the research question 6 different cushions are tested with the ISO indenter and skinny indenter. The following cushions were tested for this study: Vicair Adjuster O2 10cm, Vicair Vector O2 10cm, Vicair Active O2 9cm, Vicair 4 8cm, Jay J3 and ROHO Quadtro Select High Profile. These cushions were 40x45cm or the size closest to that. The Vicair cushions and Jay J3 are tested out of the box, the ROHO is adjusted to the corresponding testing weight. After loading 65kg with the ISO indenter, for 5 minutes, pressure distribution and immersion was measured in the positions:



  • Correct;
  • Rotated 90 degrees clockwise;
  • Backwards;
  • 4cm forward;
  • 4cm backwards;
  • Cushion upside down in cover;
  • Cushion & cover upside down is only tested for Vicair Active O2 and Vicair 4.



The immersion was also measured in all positions with the skinny indenter with a load of 130 kg to simulate a worst case scenario.

The pressures were measured (Xsensor pressure sensor mat) at five locations. These places correspond to the position of the tuberosities ischii left (LIT) and right (RIT), the trochanter major of the femur left (LGT) and right (RGT) and the coccyx bone.




3.1 Results

For the overview of all the results see table 1 and 2, this section discusses the most striking and important results.

3.1.1 Immersion at 65kg (ISO indenter)

The immersion generally decreases somewhat in improperly placed cushions compared to the correct position. This can be explained by the fact that the indenter does not enter the cushion at the correct position. The exception to this, is the test in which the cushion was placed 4cm too far back. With the Vicair Adjuster O2 and Vector O2, there was 1 to 2 mm more immersion but no bottoming out with at least 41mm of space below the lowest point of the indenter (table 1).

3.1.2 Immersion at 130kg (skinny indenter)

To simulate the worst case scenario the skinny indenter is loaded with 130kg, at this high load the limit of 25mm (stated by the Vicair Manual) below the lowest point of the indenter is exceeded in all Vicair cushions, except the Vector. To assure safe use of the cushion the Vicair manual states that the lowest bony prominence should be supported by at least 2,5cm/1” of SmartCells. This prevents the risk that the bony prominence touches the wheelchair seat.

Although the Adjuster and Vector have less than 25mm left (table 2) the pressure does not increase significantly, indicating that the definition of the EPUAP/NPIAP for bottoming out is not yet fulfilled. The Vicair 4 has the lowest immersion space left, 11mm (table 2), this is about the height of 1 SmartCell, increasing the risk of bottoming out. But according to the user manual of the Vicair 4, bottoming out is: “touching the bottom of the cushion with a bony prominence”, this is not the case yet, since there is still a SmartCell below the bony prominence.

3.2 Dispersion index and coefficient of variation

The dispersion index and coefficient of variation give an impression of the pressure distribution on the cushion. The dispersion index looks at the ratio between the high-risk zones that have been chosen and the pressure on the rest of the surface. The coefficient of variation looks at the distribution of pressure across the entire surface.

In almost all measurements, these values worsened when the cushion was not positioned correctly. When this was not the case, for example, when the cushion was placed too far back, this was offset by a decrease in contact area and an increase in average pressure. So it is important to assess all values in the whole context.

  1. Conclusion

With loads appropriate to the size of the cushion, there is no chance of bottoming out with improper placement of the cushion. With extreme loads, it is more important that the cushion is placed correctly in the wheelchair.

Forward and backward placement has a strikingly large influence on immersion and pressure distribution. It is therefore important that users and therapists are aware that the cushion is placed correctly in the wheelchair. With a correctly fitted wheelchair and an appropriate cushion, there is the possibility that the user will place the cushion too far forward in the wheelchair, thus resulting in inferior pressure distribution and immersion, but without creating any risk for the user.

If the cushion ends up upside down in the cover, this has a major impact on the performance of the cushion. The contact area decreases and the average pressure increases. It is therefore important that the risk of this is properly addressed with communication in the manual, quick installation guide and on the cushion itself. However, the risk of bottoming out is really small, and with that the risk of any damage to the user as a result of the misuse of the cushion.

The importance of cleaning your wheelchair cushion

Are wheelchair cushions a paradise for microorganisms? Which factors and cushion properties influence this?

Vicair cushionsThere are 5 key characteristics of effective wheelchair cushion design 1, but expert opinions and 90% of wheelchair users found that at least 3 other key characteristics are missing, namely microclimate, ease of use and washability. Washability is particularly important as proper cleaning of a cushion should lead to a reduction in bacterial load. With the introduction of COVID-19 and the emergence of multidrug-resistant bacteria, ensuring proper cleaning and disinfection of reusable medical devices has become increasingly important. Adequate cleaning can also extend the lifespan of a cushion, improve skin health, and control odour. Therefore a literature review is conducted to explore the significance of cleaning and disinfecting wheelchair cushions and to identify factors and cushion properties that influence this process.

Multiple studies have found that wheelchair use increases the likelihood of microbial colonisation of the user 2-4 therefore appropriate cleaning is important. To classify medical equipment Spaulding created criteria in 1970. Medical equipment used on patients is classified into three levels based on infection transmission risk, each requiring specific disinfection methods 5 & 6:

Non-critical items: these items only come into contact with intact skin, such as stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs, wheelchairs, and patient beds. Although non-critical items have the lowest classification within the Spaulding Classification, these items play a crucial role in patient care, and research has demonstrated their involvement in pathogen transmission 7.

Semi-critical items: are any items that touch mucous membranes or broken skin, such as endotracheal tubes and laryngoscopes.

Critical items: are items that are going to enter vasculature or sterile tissue, including catheters and surgical instruments.


Corresponding with the Spaulding criteria there are 3 different levels of disinfection:

High-level disinfection: This level kills all microorganisms except large numbers of bacterial spores.

Intermediate-level disinfection: This level kills mycobacteria, vegetative bacteria, most viruses, and most fungi, but may not necessarily kill bacterial spores.

Low-level disinfection (LLD): This level kills most vegetative bacteria, some fungi, and certain viruses.


Before disinfection, it is crucial to clean medical equipment because pathogens are more likely to survive on soiled surfaces where the soil acts as a protective barrier 8 & 9. According to the Spaulding criteria, wheelchair cushions are categorised as non-critical devices requiring LLD 6.

Non-critical medical devices need cleaning, followed by LLD. Examples of LLD’s include phenolics and iodophors, such as wescodyne, bactergent, hy-sine, ioprep, providone, Hil-Phene, LpH se, Metar, Vesphene, Decon-cycle.

Mohapatra defines disinfection as the process of killing harmful vegetative bacteria and viruses on surfaces and objects, excluding bacterial spores.

They recommend achieving at least a 99.9% reduction in microorganisms (log 3 reduction). However, achieving this can be challenging in some care facilities due to a lack of knowledge about medical device cleaning, tracking systems, and guidelines, which impacts the cleaning 10.

Cleaning the cushion can also be difficult due to the material compositions of the cushion 11-16 (see table 1 on the last page). Foam cushions can not be submerged in water, and therefore can only be wiped with warm water and soap.

Vicair O2 wheelchair cushions are the only wheelchair cushions that are easy machine washable at 60C and can be subsequently sprayed with a disinfectant, without causing any negative consequences.


for the cushion performance. Agidens demonstrated that washing Vicair cushions at 60°C reduces the bacterial load by 99.99% 17. This reduction in bacterial load achieved through washing is equivalent to the reduction required for disinfection according to Mohapatra 18, this is achieved without the use of a LLD. (More about the research of Agidens can be found in the one-pager “How effective is washing your Vicair wheelchair cushion?”)

Thus, considering a Vicair O2 cushion is recommended when confronted with (bacterial) soiling, repeated use, or other factors that impact the hygiene and cleanliness of the wheelchair cushion.



  1. Levy, A., Shoham, N., Kopplin, K., & Gefen, A. (2018). The Critical Characteristics of a Good Wheelchair Cushion. In Science and Practice of Pressure Ulcer Management (pp. 17–31). Springer London.

  1. Martak, D., Gbaguidi-Haore, H., Meunier, A., Valot, B.,

Conzelmann, N., Eib, M., Autenrieth, I. B., Slekovec, C., Tacconelli, E., Bertrand, X., Peter, S., Hocquet, D., & Guther, J. (2022). High prevalence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa carriage in residents of French and German long-term care facilities. Clinical Microbiology and

Infection, 28(10), 1353–1358.

  1. Tu, M. G., Lin, C. C., Chiang, Y. T., Zhou, Z. L., Hsieh, L. Y., Chen, K. T., Chen, Y. Z., Cheng, W. C., & Lo, H. J. (2022). Distribution of Yeast Species and Risk Factors of Oral Colonization after Oral-Care Education among the Residents of Nursing Homes. Journal of Fungi, 8(3).
  2. Weppner, J., Gabet, J., Linsenmeyer, M., Yassin, M., & Galang, G. (2021). Clostridium difficile Infection Reservoirs Within an Acute Rehabilitation Environment. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 100(1), 44–47.
  3. Rowan, N. J., Kremer, T., & McDonnell, G. (2023). A review of

Spaulding’s classification system for effective cleaning, disinfection and sterilization of reusable medical devices: Viewed through a modern-day lens that will inform and

enable future sustainability. Science of The Total Environment, 878, 1–18.

  1. Spaulding, E. (1970). The role of chemical disinfection in the prevention of nosocomial infections. International Conference on Nosocomial Infections.
  2. Klacik, S. (2019). ‘Noncritical’ OR items deserve due diligence in disinfection – OR Manager. International Association of Healthcare Central Service Materiel Management. https://
  3. Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario), & Provincial Infectious Diseases Advisory Committee. (2013). Best practices for cleaning, disinfection and sterilization of medical equipment/devices in all health care settings (3rd ed.). Queen’s Printer for Ontario.
  4. Werkgroep Infectie Preventie, de Bruyn, A. C. P., van Klingeren, B., & Severin, W. P. J. (2009). WIP richtlijn – Beleid reiniging desinfectie en sterilisatie.
  5. Gardner, P., Muller, M. P., Prior, B., So, K., Tooze, J., Eum, L., &

Kachur, O. (2014). Wheelchair cleaning and disinfection in Canadian health care facilities: ‘That’s wheelie gross!’ American Journal of Infection Control, 42(11), 1173–1177.

  1. Cushioning Products by Supracor – User manual – Stimulite. (2018).
  2. Jay Foam Cushion Products User Instruction Manual & Warranty. (2021).
  3. JAY J3 Cushion Owner’s Manual. (2017).
  4. Jay Xtreme Active Owner’s Manual. (2018).
  5. ROHO ® DRY FLOATATION ® Wheelchair Cushions Operation Manual. (2019).
  6. Vicair Vector O2 User Manual. (2018).
  7. Op De Beeck, J. (2023). Test Report Disinfection Wheelchair Cushion.
  8. Mohapatra, S. (2017). Sterilization and Disinfection. In Essentials of Neuroanesthesia (pp. 929–944). Elsevier.



Additional research on moisture at the skin cushion interface in wheelchair users

The skin performs a variety of important physiologic roles including protection from environmental exposure, preservation of internal homeostasis and thermoregulation amongst others. [Gray, 2011]

Moisture-associated skin damage (MASD) pathophysiology is related to both recurrent chemical and physical irritation to the skin barrier, triggering inflammation and subsequent skin damage. Multiple factors have a negative impact on the skin barrier function, including chemical irritants in urine and feces, changes in

skin surface pH, associated microorganisms, repeated skin cleansing activities, an occlusive perineal environment (due to the use of incontinence pads), and mechanical factors such as friction.

Exposure to moisture affects the integrity of the outermost layer of the skin which makes the skin more vulnerable to friction and skin tears. [Bostan, 2019]

Prevention and treatment of MASD include the removal of occlusive conditions, gentle skin cleansing, skin protection, and the application of therapeutic ointments. [Collier, 2016; Lumbers, 2019] However, moisture management at the skin cushion interface should not only focus on personal hygiene but also on moving moisture away from the skin cushion interface. This is due to the fact that support surfaces with a microclimate management function show significantly lower skin hydration levels. [Denzinger, 2020]

Vicair O2 cushions, which have a perforated liner, are effective in moving away moisture from the skin cushion interface. This effect becomes even more apparent when a top cover is used. The dissipation of moisture by the Vicair O2 cushions is so effective, that within 1hr, wet spots appeared on the surface underneath the cushion. [Call, 2016 (unpublished)]



Wheelchair cushions are often covered with incontinence covers to protect the cushion against moisture. However, prolonged exposure to moisture makes the skin more vulnerable for MASD and pressure injury development. Therefore, the focus should be shifted from protecting the cushion against moisture to protecting the wheelchair user against moisture to prevent MASD and pressure injury development.


Equipment funding explained

New Zealand has two main government funding channels. They can be divided into accident and non-accident related conditions.  Alternatively you can purchase direct from a supplier without funding or talk to your therapist about partial funding options by the Ministry of Health.

Accident related conditions – ACC

ACC is an organisation that covers everyone, including visitors, who are injured in an accident in New Zealand. If ACC covered your injury, they can also help you with aids and equipment.

ACC cover most physical injuries if they’re caused by:

  • an accident
  • sexual violence
  • a condition that comes on gradually because of work.

ACC can also cover injuries that are long-term, permanent or that happened at birth. ACC also pays for the aids and equipment you need to recover from your injury. You can use these aids and equipment for as long as you need them to support your injury.

Visit their website for more information:
Phone 0800 101 996 (Monday to Friday, 7am – 7pm)
Email: [email protected]

ACC navigation service: Way Finders
Way Finders is a national navigation service that’s available to anyone who may have questions about ACC or even a specific ACC claim. Our service is available for people who may want an alternative way to interact with ACC rather than deal with ACC directly. Phone: 0800 273 030 Email: [email protected]

Non-accident related conditions – Ministry of Health (MOH)

Is funded by the Ministry of Health. You may be eligible for Ministry of Health funding for specialised equipment if:

You have a disability that will last over six months and result in a reduction of independent function to the extent that ongoing support is required &
You are not an ACC claimant (for that disability).

Equipment can only be provided if an EMS Assessor has identified that equipment is essential for you to:

  • Get around more safely in your home, or
  • Remain in, or return to, your home, or
  • Communicate effectively, or,
  • Study full-time or do vocational training, or,
  • Work full-time, or,
  • Work as a volunteer,
  • Be the main carer of a dependent person.

Funding contribution from the person

If you wish to have equipment which has higher specifications, because it better suit your needs, but is more costly than that recommended by the EMS Assessor. Ministry of Health funding may in some cases only cover the cost of the essential components of the equipment solution. The additional costs of the items must be paid by the person directly to the supplier. This is called Partial funding.

Partial Funding – MOH

Then refer to section 5.7 of the MOH Equipment Manual (as used by therapists) that says:

5.7. Funding contribution from the person If a person wishes to have equipment which has higher specifications and is more costly than that recommended by the EMS Assessor, Ministry funding will only cover the cost of the essential components of the equipment item. The additional costs of the items must be paid by the person directly to the supplier. If there is suitable equipment currently available in the EMS Provider’s reissue store that meets the person’s essential disability-related needs, this equipment will be provided before any new equipment can be purchased.

The equipment issued remains the property of the Ministry. There is no reimbursement of the person’s contribution payable from the Ministry if or when the equipment is no longer required by them is returned to the EMS Provider.

To view the full manual visit


Access to Funding – The process

You will require a needs assessment by a Therapist (Accredited Assessor)

  • ACC; The first approach would be to speak to your health professional i.e. G.P. or case manager for such referral.
  • MOH; Again speak to your G.P., ask for an occupational Therapist referral. In some areas, you can self-refer to this service at your local DHB hospital.


Alternative Funding Options

Advocacy Groups & Grants

If you are not eligible for ACC or Ministry of Health funding and don’t have the means to pay for the equipment yourself, there are various Advocacy Groups that may have loan closets that can supply you with a grant or assist with the payment of equipment.

Cerebral Palsy Association

The purpose of this grant is to assist people with Cerebral Palsy to obtain items of services that mitigate the effects of living with Cerebral Palsy. Grants should assist a person’s independence and or quality of life, or in the case of a child, also that of the parents/family.

Muscular Dystrophy New Zealand

The purpose of this fund is to provide discretionary grants for individuals with a neuromuscular condition to access opportunities and specialised resources that enable them to achieve freedom.

Lottery grants for people with disabilities

Grants funded by Lotto help to pay for equipment for people with disabilities who want to be more closely involved in their communities.

The Wilson Home Trust

If you are under 22 and live in the Upper North Island, The Wilson Home Trust offers a range of grants that aim to assist and improve the lives of children and young adults with physical disabilities, and their whanau.


Fundraising Platforms

Fundraising websites can be successful tools for raising the money needed to purchase an Obi.
There are a few online fundraising platform for New Zealanders to choose from:

Once you have created your campaign spread the word through multiple social media channels for optimal response.


Thank you for contacting us.
Your message has been sent and we will be in contact shortly.

If you have an urgent inquiry please call us on:
0800 238 523
Business hours:
Mon – Fri 8.30 am – 5 pm