Tag Archives: wheelchair cushion

ROHO’s Smart Check™ Cushion Wins Award for Product Innovation

Toronto, Ontario, May 18, 2015 – ROHO’s newest product, Smart Check™ has been named a gold winner in the Registrant Choice Harding Award for Product Innovation by the Canadian Seating & Mobility Conference.

ROHO® is the manufacturer of the world renowned DRY FLOATATION® technology, which helps heal and prevent pressure ulcers. The new Smart Check system provides maximum skin and positioning protection, plus it electronically checks and provides real-time feedback on cushion inflation of ROHO cushions. Clinicians can confidently recommend a ROHO Smart Check cushion knowing that clients can easily check to ensure that they remain at the recommended inflation setting.

The Canadian Seating and Mobility Conference is an unparalleled forum where therapists, rehabilitation technologists, equipment suppliers and manufacturers come together to share information and network with colleagues in the field of assistive technologies. The May 2015 Conference held in Toronto, Ontario  marked the 30th year of the conference, where the Best New Product Awards were announced.

Conference attendees voted for the award nominees. ROHO was recognized as a leader in the rapidly changing assistive technologies and awarded for its innovation.

Andy Woodcock, ROHO’s Sales representative across Canada accepted the award for ROHO. Woodcock said, “With Smart Check, our cushion users can now monitor their cushion with the push of a button, giving them the security and independence they deserve. ROHO has always made the best cushions, but Smart Check is innovation that will revolutionize the cushion industry, as well as, make a huge impact on our patient’s lives.”

For more information about ROHO and the Smart Check cushion, please visit: www.roho.com/smartcheck.

About ROHO, Inc.

ROHO is the worldwide leader of seating solutions that prevent and treat pressure ulcers. ROHO’s technology provides skin protection and positioning in a variety of applications: from wheelchair cushions, to therapeutic mattresses, to wheelchair backs and more. ROHO’s products deliver life-changing benefits, offering comfort and protection to people relying on wheelchairs for mobility.  ROHO is the pioneer of air-cell based cushions, and created DRY FLOATATION TECHNOLOGY®, mimicking the pressure-relieving properties of water. With more than 1 million ROHO products in use in more than 80 countries worldwide, clinicians can be confident in prescribing ROHO products. Plus, all ROHO products are backed by an unmatched level of clinical evidence from leading researchers around the world.

For more information, visit www.roho.com or contact customer service at 800-851-3449.


Product photo available upon request
Media Contact:
Dan Hughes
Director of Marketing –ROHO, Inc.

ROHO Helps Honor Disabled Veterans with Custom-Designed Cushion Donation

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, November 17, 2014 – During a Veteran’s Day commemoration ceremony at the historic Alamo, 40 wounded service members were honored with the gift of custom-built Segway® transporters.  Of those, four were Ally Chair Adapted Segways outfitted with ROHO® cushions and ROHO® AGILITY™ backrests.  These donations were made possible by Segs4Vets to improve their mobility and independence.Segs4Vets ceremony 4

The honored veterans served in either Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan. Twenty five of the 40 veterans lost limbs during their service. They now carry a permanent reminder of their military service and will for the rest of their lives.

Segs4Vets is ranked as one of America’s best charities by the Independent Charities of America and has received the prestigious Spirit of Hope Award from the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Jerry Kerr, President and Co-Founder of Segs4Vets presented the specially adapted Segways on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 10:45 a.m. at a public ceremony during the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce’s annual Celebrate America’s Military week.

This year’s presentation is the fourteenth time specially adapted Segways have been presented to recognize veterans. Four of the 2014 recipients received an Ally Chair Adapted Segway. The Ally Chair is a new, universally designed recreational device, which is currently only available through Segs4Vets. The Segs4Vets program transforms the traditional Segway transporter into a seated mobility device for individuals who cannot use prosthetic devices.  Plans are underway to expand the offerings of Ally Chairs utilizing ROHO technologies for eligible veterans.

ROHO_SEGS4VETSThe Ally Chair utilizes ROHO’s seat cushions and AGILITY™ Backrests to provide skin protection, positioning and comfort for the user. ROHO’s unique cellular-air design constantly adjusts to an individual’s body movement and adapts to their changing shape. The adjustment and conformity of the cells accommodate and meet the one-of-a-kind skin integrity needs for each veteran throughout the day. This year alone, ROHO has donated $32,000 in engineering and customer manufactured products in support of Segs4Vets’ mission.

In addition to those who lost limbs, other recipients either sustained spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, severe burns, developed cancer, or suffered severe orthopedic, neurological and soft tissue damage which makes it difficult or impossible for them to walk without assistance or pain. Studies show the lack of mobility is a greater obstacle to employment than blindness. Many are being treated at the Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston. Military medical centers have incorporated the Segway into rehabilitation since Segs4Vets began awarding the transporters nine years ago.


Segs4Vets is a program of Disability Rights Advocates for Technology (DRAFT). The program is dedicated to restoring independence and productivity to severely injured service members as part of DRAFT’s core mission to expand and improve access for all disabled people. Segs4Vets has awarded more than 1,300 Segways since 2005 and plans to continue the program to meet the ongoing needs of the thousands of worthy applicants who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.  As a charitable organization, $0.94 of every dollar goes towards providing equipment and services to veterans.


ROHO is the worldwide leader of seating solutions that prevent and treat pressure ulcers and tissue deformation. ROHO’s technology provides skin protection and positioning in a variety of applications; from wheelchair cushions, to therapeutic mattresses, to wheelchair backs and more.

ROHO’s products deliver life-changing benefits, offering comfort and protection to people relying on wheelchairs for mobility.  ROHO is the pioneer of air-cell based cushions, and created DRY FLOATATION TECHNOLOGY® mimicking the pressure-redistributing properties of water. With over 1 million ROHO products in use in over 80 countries worldwide, clinicians can be confident in prescribing ROHO products.  Plus, all ROHO products are backed by an unmatched level of clinical evidence from leading researchers around the world.

With the increasing focus on patient outcomes and safety, ROHO’s established technology is paramount in treating the over 2.5 million patients suffering pressure ulcers annually and reducing the $11 billion in annual healthcare cost for the treatment of pressure ulcers.


Dan Hughes
Director of Marketing –ROHO, Inc.

Q & A with Jamie Goodwin

Blogging via Facebook.com/Wheelin’ Weightloss

Why did you start blogging?

I started writing and sharing my story to inspire others to lose weight and to have accountability partners in return.

Jamie Goodwin - Interviwe

If you could give your page a permanent hashtag what would it be?


Gadget/”trick” you use that makes life in a wheelchair a little easier?

Ask for help. People are always willing to help.

What would your followers be surprised to learn about you?

I grew up on a farm and milked goats until I was 12 years old.

Finish these sentences:

I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me ten years ago that…. I would be the mom of 3 boys and a pastor’s wife!

In the next 10 years I really hope… To have reached my goal weight (45 more pounds to go) and to have written a book.

If no one read my blog/posts I would… keep posting! Seeing my progress and setbacks always help when you are on a weight loss journey like this.

Visit my blog/page if you….want to be inspired to lose weight and get healthy!

I get happy when I… go camping with my husband and 3 boys!

ROHO Elite Interview: John McRoberts

John McRoberts - Elite LiveRoho
Meet John McRoberts, a medal-winning Paralympic Sailor for Canada.  John splits time between Victoria, British Columbia and St. Petersburg, FL.  Always an active person, John participated in everything from wheelchair rugby to racing before finally settling on sailing. To John sailing has longevity, “Other sports have a shelf life because of your age. Sailing can be done until the day I die.”

Disability or Age Doesn’t Matter

Unlike other sports that require being able to move a wheelchair around aggressively or upper-body strength, John points out that with sailing disability or age doesn’t matter, it’s mentality. “The beauty of sailing is that you can compete with a high level disability. Anybody can do this. [On the water] it’s about being faster and smarter – it doesn’t matter about the chair. I get to leave my chair behind. It’s really good mentally to be free from it, you know?”


As part of John’s training he spends time both on the water and in the gym. Four days a week he spends 3 hours on the water practicing. At the gym John is stretching and working with a trainer on machines.

Paralympic Sports

We asked John if he weren’t sailing, what Paralympic sport would he want to compete in? “Rugby. I played when I was younger but since then the chairs have evolved; the whole sport has evolved. Rugby is the ticket everyone wants at the games.”

Security is Peace of Mind

John is equipped with a ROHO cushion both in his chair and on his boat. “You can be as talented and adventurous as you want but if your health isn’t good you can’t do anything. Sitting on a ROHO is a huge peace of mind. I know I’m going to be fine. It allows me to check off one of those precautionary things that I have to worry about each day. It’s my security blanket. “

The Future

After meeting his wife Jackie sailing, they got married in 2010.  Jackie also enjoys staying active and is John’s sailing partner.  Together they are committed to going to the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Best of luck!

To see more ROHO Elite members ROHO Community!

Important Reimbursement Changes to Consider When Choosing Your Next Wheelchair Cushion

Every wheelchair cushion has a finite lifespan and eventually, every brand, make and model of cushion will wear beyond its usability. When this happens the cushion no longer supports and protects your skin the way it was designed — putting you at risk of a pressure sore.  This is why it is vital to replace your cushion before it fails.

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Is It Time To Replace Your Cushion?

“How do I know when it’s time to replace my cushion?” This is an important question that frequently comes up at consumer shows, a question that has a several answers.

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Will 90210 TV Show’s Riley Be Hospitalized With A Pressure Ulcer?

Move over Artie Abrams from Glee, there is another wheelchair-using character on TV, this time it’s Riley Wallace, a 20-something paraplegic who was introduced this fall in the fifth season of 90210 on The CW Network. Unfortunately, like Artie, once again Hollywood ignored the talented pool of SAG (Screen Actors Guild) performers with disabilities who are wheelchair users and cast a non-disabled actor, Riley Smith, for the part. And once again, Hollywood misses the mark in many obvious areas, some which would surely land a real paraplegic in the hospital with a pressure ulcer.

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“Paraplegic” feels trapped in a non-disabled body

Guest blog post by Bob Vogel

Chloe Jennings-White, a Ph.D., chemist living in Salt Lake City, Utah, lives her life as a paraplegic — and wheelchair users, she also wears long leg braces that lock at the knee to enable her to ambulate with crutches. She is comfortable and happy as a paraplegic. However, when she needs to use the flight of stairs in her house, she gets out of her chair and walks up and down the stairs, with the leg braces unlocked, enabling her legs to bend at the knee. She drives, but rather than the slow cumbersome task of taking her chair apart and transferring it into the car, she stands up and walks to the back of her car and puts the chair into the trunk. The car she drives doesn’t have hand controls.

Like many wheelchair users, Jennings-White enjoys outdoor activities. While most wheelchair users employ adaptive equipment and arm power to engage in these activities, Jennings-White simply removes her leg braces and goes on 12-hour hikes in the woods and climbs 11,000-foot mountain peaks.

When she wants to go snow skiing, Jennings-White stands up, clips into her ski bindings and spends the day on the slopes as non-disabled skier — at the top of a ski lift she will hike a considerable distance in order to get to the best snow on distant, very steep expert runs or chutes — runs with rocks or cliffs on each side.

If this sounds confusing — it is — because Chloe Jennings-White is only pretending to be a paraplegic. She chooses to live her life as a paraplegic because she has a rare condition known as Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) — characterized by, in her case, by an overwhelming desire to become a paraplegic. For her, using a wheelchair and pretending to be a paraplegic helps ease this desire.

As of late, Jennings-White has been making rounds on the media circuit, first in January, appearing in Taboo on the National Geographic Channel in the episode titled “Secret Lives,” then as a guest on the February 27th episode of Anderson — the Anderson Cooper talk show. On the shows, Jennings-White explains that using a wheelchair helps her deal with her BIID.

Jennings-White says she appeared on these shows to bring attention to BIID and to help others with the condition to let them know that they are not alone. For that, I applaud her efforts. I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it must be to have BIID. According to an article in Newsweek, MRI studies of people with BIID suggest the disorder stems from a problem with the right sphere in the brain’s parietal lobe, the part of he brain that constructs body image.

The term that people with BIID often use to describe themselves is transabled. In the Newsweek article, Dr. Michael First, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University in New York, says there are parallels between BIID and gender identity disorder (GID) in which people feel that the gender they were physically born with is not their true gender.

As a side note, Jennings-White used to be a man — something she openly discusses in her blogs at transabled.org.

In Taboo “Secret Lives,” Jennings-White explains that she truly feels like she is a paraplegic and feels like she is faking it when she isn’t in her wheelchair. “It (using the wheelchair) is like a temporary stopgap,” she explains. She goes on to say, “in order to live a completely fulfilled self-actualized life is — for me — is to be paraplegic.” She explains she has a desire to have surgery to become a full-time paraplegic. “When I have an operation to become paraplegic I think the eventual outcome will be that I will feel like a complete authentic person and very happy.”

That’s a terrifying thought.

In a chilling clip on Anderson, Jennings-White explained that in a 2006 she inured her back and a doctor told her she needed to get rods to stabilize her spine. She refused to get the rods, and skis aggressively in hopes of having an accident and re-injuring her spine enough to become a complete paraplegic!

The TV audience’s reactions and the comments on the website toward Jennings-White are incredibly angry. Although I think of myself as open minded and empathetic, I felt angry, as well, and I couldn’t figure out why. She is a person with very real psychological and neurological disorder, and using a wheelchair makes her feel better. Why should this bother me? It’s not like she is using accessible parking spot or anything. There are others with the same disorder, and she is putting herself out there in the media to help them. This is a good thing. Yet, I couldn’t put my finger on why this upset me.

To try and find my answer, I carefully re-watched Taboo “Secret Lives,” pausing to take notes. Then I went on the web and spent some time reading Jenning’s-White’s blogs and her responses to comments. Upon re-watching the Taboo “Secret Lives” episode, the first thing that I noticed was Jennings-White IS parking in accessible parking spots, complete with a parking placard! WHAT?!? The segment says she has a slight limp, and shows clips of her walking up and down stairs, and shows her hiking in the woods with no leg braces. Jennings-White describes going on 12-hour hikes. From blog entries and the web it is clear that she scrambles over boulders, she hikes up mountain peaks, hikes to, and skis down very steep, expert only ski runs. Yet, she needs a parking placard?!

Jennings-White’s “portrayal” of a paraplegic also creates misconceptions and reinforces stereotypes of paralysis, including the idea that being paralyzed is all about the wheelchair and not being able to walk. Using a wheelchair and walking doesn’t even make the “top ten” list of difficulties that paralysis presents. A glaring example of this is her “paraplegic disguise” consisting of a wheelchair, leg braces and crutches, but NO CUSHION! Without a proper cushion, a real paraplegic would be hospitalized with a life threatening pressure ulcer within days!

Moreover, Jennings-White’s media portrayal of somebody that uses a wheelchair, but can walk when they “really need too” adds more confusion and misinformation about paralysis. The next time you or I need a wheelchair lift, or an aisle chair and we are asked “can’t you walk ‘just a little bit?,’” we can thank her.

I got further angered at Jennings-White because, for a person who insisting that she “feels like a fake” anytime she is out of her wheelchair, and feels like a paraplegic trapped in a non-disabled body, she sure manages to get over these “feelings” quickly when she wants to go hiking, skiing, go up and down the stairs or load her chair in the car. I believe her BIID is real — but using a wheelchair and leg braces only when it suits you isn’t “being a paraplegic,” it’s just playing dress up.

In terms of being paralyzed, using a wheelchair and not being able to walk is just the tip of the iceberg. I suggest Jennings-White try experiencing the full paraplegic experience. If she wants to go up and down stairs, she should drag herself up and down with her hands. No walking her chair to the trunk to load it into the car. No walking, hiking, mountain climbing, skiing, “when she feels like it.” Get a professionally fit wheelchair cushion, do mirror-skin checks twice a day to avoid pressure ulcers. It is good practice—she will need it. She should manage bladder with intermittent cathing, or use an indwelling Foley. She should have a bowel accident or two — preferably at work — and see how “self actualized” she feels.

But the most egregious part of the National Geographic Taboo segment — the one that got me furious — is the suggestion that letting children see a person in a wheelchair may cause BIID! In the segment — at around 20:20 — the narrator says, “At Cambridge University Chloe has a successful career developing antipsychotic drugs. She has over two dozen patents to her name. So how does such an intelligent and successful women end up leading such an extreme double life?” Then we hear Dr. Michael First say, “The most common experiences — and this applies to Chloe — is early childhood exposure to someone with that disability. It’s very common for children to identify with roll models of a family member or a relative.” While this is being said, viewers see a close-up of Jennings-White’s face on the left side of the screen and a close-up of Dr. First speaking right side of the screen. Next Jennings-White says, “My aunt was paraplegic and, um, I would always be fascinated by her leg braces. She would come in to me and say these are silly things aren’t they? And I, what I wanted to say is, ‘No, I think they are lovely. I want them, too.”

WHAT?! If kids see us in our wheelchairs it might cause BIID?! Does that also mean that if a little boy sees a woman, he will want a sex change?

I hold a bachelor’s degree in communications, so I understand that there is no way of knowing what Dr. First or Jennings-White meant, but the way the show is edited sends a clear message, “Keep your kids away from people in wheelchairs, especially friends and relatives. If a child sees a wheelchair, it might cause BIID!” This is a horrible and damaging message. Imagine being a wheelchair user trying to adopt a child and the adoption agency or mother of the child up for adoption sees this!

Speaking as a wheelchair user that became a T10 paraplegic at age 25, I think about all of hard work and time it took to learn to live and thrive with paralysis. — even more importantly, the time and work it took to accept it, and move beyond it. It is unfortunate that Jennings-White’s condition appears to make her to constantly focus on the wheelchair and on paralysis because she feels fake when she is out of her wheelchair.


Information Links:



Bob VogelBob Vogel, 51, is a freelance writer for the ROHO Community blog. He is a dedicated dad, adventure athlete and journalist. Bob is in his 26th year as a T10 complete para. For the past two decades he has written for New Mobility magazine and is now their Senior Correspondent. He often seeks insight and perspective from his 10-year-old daughter, Sarah, and Schatzie, his 9-year-old German Shepherd service dog. The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are those of Bob Vogel and do not necessarily reflect the views of The ROHO Group. You can contact Bob Vogel by email at

5 lessons learned from 27 years of having an SCI

Guest blog post by Bob Vogel

This Friday, March 2, marks the 27th anniversary of my SCI (spinal cord injury)—T10 complete para—the result of a crash while performing aerial acrobatics on skis at age 25.

Each year when the anniversary rolls along, I honor it by taking a few moments to reflect on the amazing life and adventures I’ve had since my injury, as well as, odds and ends I’ve learned along the way. Here are a few random thoughts on life with SCI—things that have worked for me and things I wish I had known and/or would have done differently.


Random Thoughts—Things That Have Worked

1. The most important tool for healthy skin is a mirror-check twice a day.

An example of how a mirror check helped me avoid skin problems happened back in the mid 90s—a new cushion manufacturer offered me a demo of one of their cushions—a unique design that looked and sounded really cool and worked well for some people.

Before using the new cushion I had a pressure map reading (a system that displays areas of high and low pressure points—typical high pressure points are usually bony areas) done on it. From the pressure map reading, it looked good, so I gave it a try.

I did a mirror skin-check that evening and the skin on my butt was bright red—a serious warning sign. By the next morning the skin color had returned to normal so I figured I’d give it another try. While sitting on the cushion, I double-checked to make sure that I wasn’t bottoming out—and I wasn’t. After a few hours, I did a mirror check, and sure enough my skin was bright red and looked even worse than the previous night. I returned the cushion. If I hadn’t been in the habit of doing daily mirror checks, I wouldn’t have known the cushion wasn’t working for me. The first sign of trouble would have been a major pressure sore.

Another important reason to do a mirror check is because pressure sores usually occur with within the first years of the SCI, or 15 or more years after the SCI. The reason pressure sores often occur 15 years or more after SCI is that skin gets thinner and weakens as we age.

Too often I’ve heard of a friend that has gone years with healthy skin and no redness, and becomes complacent about checking. Without daily mirror-checks they don’t notice any areas of redness—a warning sign that skin, or posture has changed—and the red area continues to worsen. The first sign of trouble ends up being a major pressure sore and a hospital stay. Something that could easily be avoided by a simple mirror check.


2. Document medical issues for reimbursement purposes.

Often we wheelers become so adept at managing small SCI problems like minor pressure ulcers, or back or shoulder pain that we neglect to mention it our physicians. But we should. By making sure your physician documents—writes it down in your charts—any and all pressure ulcers, however minor, or back or shoulder pain, you have a written record in your medical charts, something that can make all the difference when it comes to time to request reimbursement for a specific cushion or wheelchair.

In my case, when I first got out of rehab I was sent home on a memory-foam cushion despite asking for a ROHO® HIGH PROFILE® Single Valve Cushion. Even though I was diligent about doing weight shifts, I got a small pressure sore within three months. Fortunately, I caught it during a mirror check and went to the doctor right away. After the pressure ulcer was documented, I was immediately approved for a ROHO and managed to heal it at home.


3. Connect with others with SCI.

Connecting and networking with other people with SCIs has been vital for me on many levels. It has helped me learn tricks and tips to living and thriving with an SCI. Being able to share thoughts and feelings, and get feedback from other people with SCIs helps put things into perspective.

Since I first attended SCI support groups in rehab, mentors with SCIs have had an important impact on my life. At the support groups, I was still trying to grapple with the idea that there is life after SCI, mentors would wheel into the support group and share their lives and what they were doing and show that life goes on after SCI. It is every bit as rich and exciting as ever.

When I first got of rehab, a hang glider pilot acquaintance, Dan Buchanan, who is also a T6 para, became a mentor to me and helped me with things from how to set up hand controls in my car and how to modify my hang glider with wheels, to suggesting foods and strategies to help avoid bowel accidents, and what to do when the inevitable accident did happen. Dan and I became lifelong friends and we still bounce thoughts and ideas off of each other.

Over the years, I’ve been very fortunate to form close friendships with others that have SCIs, to this day we often touch base to ask about or trade information on some type of SCI subject, or just check in to exchange thoughts and feelings. A perspective from a friend that has experienced similar feelings and or circumstances often makes all the difference.

Good places to meet friends and mentors with SCIs are at various adaptive sports and recreation programs in your area. Local Centers for Independant Living (CIL) often have this information, or simply do an online search for an adaptive activity you are interested and your location.

There are also plenty of online options and chat rooms share SCI thoughts, stories, ask questions and get mentoring advice and feedback from other folks with SCI. (See Resources)

A word of caution—just like anything else online, do not provide personal information for safety reasons.


Important Lessons Learned—Things That Didn’t Work

1. Get a second opinion for important medical issues

When it comes to important medical issues, it is very important to get a second and even third opinion. This is another area where networks of friends with SCIs can offer advice.

In 1989, I hurt my lower back while mono-skiing. A few days later it still hurt and I went to the ER. An X-ray confirmed that I had severely fractured my sacrum. I was advised to take it easy and the sacrum would heal on its own. Over the next few weeks my back got worse, I went back to the hospital to ask if I should be put in traction, I was advised it wouldn’t be necessary. I asked about getting a second opinion and was advised that wouldn’t be necessary that the doctor on my case was “the best in the business.”

Having a wide circle of friends with SCIs—like I do now—or the ability to bounce the question off an online group like CareCure Community or another chat room would have led me to seek a second opinion. Instead, I listened to the first doctor and didn’t pursue any further treatment.

It turns out I should have gotten a second opinion and should have been in traction—by not getting a second opinion, my spine fused in a crooked position. It’s something that could have been avoided by a second, or third medical opinion.


2. It’s important to ask a physical medicine and rehab (PM&R) physician to weigh on medical advice

In 2000, I fractured my right hip—the result of rolling over in bed with my feet caught in the corner of the covers, combined with osteoporosis—from 15 years using a wheelchair (see resources below)

I went to the ER and had surgery—four screws to secure my femur to the ball (trochanter into the ball). The surgery went perfect and I was released the next day. I asked the surgeon if I had any restrictions while healing. He said “Nope, it should be solid.” Unfortunately, he didn’t have any PM&R experience; he wasn’t thinking that with SCI the muscles surrounding my hip wouldn’t pull the hip together like they would in a non-disabled person.

Within a month, the screws pulled out and the hip came apart. My lesson—I should have asked a PM&R doctor to weigh in on the healing process. If I had, I wouldn’t have done transfers that pulled on the hip during the healing process and it would likely have healed just fine.

When the hip pulled apart, the surgeon said I could get an artificial hip. Not knowing anything about artificial hips I figured it would be a good option and scheduled surgery to remove the screws and put in an artificial hip the next week.

Luckily, I was learning my lesson about getting a second opinion. Two days before surgery I consulted with a PM&R doctor. He immediately referred me to surgeon versed in PM&R. The surgeon said that in my case an artificial hip would severely limit the mobility of my leg and cause a high probability of severe complications including hip dislocations and high potential for fracture in the middle of the femur. The artificial hip could have cost me the leg.

Instead I had a girdlestone procedure—the ball of the hip was removed. The procedure went well, and 12-years-later my leg is fine. Learning to get a 2nd opinion from a physician versed in PM&R saved my leg!



Chatrooms/Forums/Message Boards



Bob VogelBob Vogel, 51, is a freelance writer for the ROHO Community blog. He is a dedicated dad, adventure athlete and journalist. Bob is in his 26th year as a T10 complete para. For the past two decades he has written for New Mobility magazine and is now their Senior Correspondent. He often seeks insight and perspective from his 10-year-old daughter, Sarah, and Schatzie, his 9-year-old German Shepherd service dog. The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are those of Bob Vogel and do not necessarily reflect the views of The ROHO Group. You can contact Bob Vogel by email at

Why there is such a big price difference in medical products that look so similar

Guest Blog Post by Bob Vogel

Evaluating a product by price alone can be confusing and misleading. Why do two cushions that “look” similar have significantly different prices? This is an important question, especially when it comes time to order your next cushion. In order for a DME (durable medical equipment) cushion to be sold as a medical device in the US it must comply with a specific set of rules and tests set forth by the FDA. These rules and tests are a good thing — I want to be sure that the cushion under my butt has been tested and proven to protect my skin.

However, there is a big difference between doing the minimum required to meet regulations and doing the maximum to ensure that wheelchair users have the best skin protection possible.

The first expense is research and design costs associated with making a cushion before it can be submitted to the FDA for approval to be sold. Companies like ROHO (and other market leaders) spend a tremendous amount of money in this area, while other companies that might make similar looking products spend very little in this area. ROHO continually invests money in research and design in an ongoing effort to make the best product for consumers. Research costs include a prototype tool for every research cushion — something that is very expensive with no guarantee that it will ever reach the consumer — laboratory studies, clinical studies, and support papers for the research. Examples of published ROHO papers and research can be viewed here: http://www.therohogroup.com/roho institute

The FDA has a specific set of rules and tests it requires for DME complex rehab cushion to be sold as a DME product in the US. The manufacturer has to be registered with the FDA and pay associated fees on an annual basis and must meet FDA quality system regulation (QS) manufacturing requirements for designing, purchasing, manufacturing, labeling, storing and servicing medical devices (in this case, cushions). The manufacturer has to have traceability of the product (cushion) and report if there is any kind of recall or adverse event with the product.

The FDA inspects manufacturing facilities and if an inspection or an FDA audit finds there isn’t compliance with its rules, the FDA can shut down the plant.

ROHO takes quality control much further than the FDA model with its quality management systems’ being certified to two ISO standards — ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 13485:2003, which is a medical device quality standard. Manufacturing all ROHO cushions, except the PostureLITE™ by ROHO Cushion at its plant in Belleville, Illinois, ROHO is able to maintain the highest levels of quality control in every aspect of every cushion.

An example of ROHO quality control is the neoprene used to make its cushions. Instead of relying on an outsourced compound, ROHO compounds and mixes its own neoprene and every batch is tested to ensure each cushion maintains the highest standard. To further enhance quality control, each ROHO cushion has a unique serial number that ties it back to the specific date that it was made and processes under which it was manufactured in order to pinpoint any issue regarding quality if needed.

Each and every ROHO cushion goes though multiple layers of quality inspection to ensure each cushion performs to specification before it is shipped.

Another important thing to consider when ordering a new cushion is warranty return policy and customer service — a manufacturer expense that ROHO feels is of vital importance. If you have a problem with a ROHO cushion you call customer service and give them the serial number of the cushion and tell them the problem. Customer service will be able to immediately tell the manufacture date, exact model and size of cushion and warranty information. If it is under warranty, they will send you a new cushion right away, and have you send your old cushion back in a pre-paid shipping box. This enables ROHO to examine the cushion, document the problem and further enhance quality control by gaining knowledge to take steps to work on eliminating problems and improve cushions.

An example of this is, years ago ROHO identified an area of wear on the cushion where the cell met the base of the cushion. To address this, ROHO Engineering spent a great deal of money to redesign the cushion so the cushion cells had a more gradual taper. The redesign meant great expense for re-tooling for all cushions, but the end result was a longer wearing cushion for the customer.

When it comes to qualifying for reimbursement for a DME cushion, most insurance companies follow Medicare guidelines — the product has to meet a Cal-117 Fire safety test, the cushion must have minimum of an 18-month warranty and show that the cushion will pass a Simulated Immersion Laboratory test — a test that measures a cushion’s ability to allow cylindrical devices (meant to simulate a human pelvis) to sink 40 mm into a cushion with a 31-pound load without bottoming out — about 18 months of use. 40 mm is the goal because it simulates immersion of the entire pelvis.

Unfortunately, the Simulated Immersion Laboratory test does not measure pressure, meaning you could end up with a cushion that passes all of the tests, yet puts tremendous pressure on bony areas of the pelvis and puts the user at risk of a pressure ulcer.

Which brings us to another example how ROHO goes the extra mile for consumer safety. ROHO, in conjunction with Sunrise Medical, has spent considerable time and a huge sum of money to develop a superior Simulated Immersion Laboratory test device — one that is in the shape of a pelvis, designed to address the most difficult seating/pressure challenge. The device has eighteen sophisticated pressure sensors imbedded in the indenter at typical pelvic pressure points so you can see the actual pressure readouts on the pelvis. The device is designed to measure all 18 points when immersed at 40 mm in the cushion — the goal is equal pressure distribution on all areas without any high pressure points. An analogy is a scuba diver under water — they have a ton of force applied to them but it is equally distributed so they don’t develop problems.

To make seating safer for all consumers, ROHO and Sunrise have done all of the testing and research on their Simulated Immersion Laboratory test device, and are offering the research and plans for the device to testing agencies for free to try and raise the bar and make seating better and safer for all consumers.

When looking at your next cushion, do your research:
• Where is the cushion manufactured?
• How long is the warranty? (ROHO cushions’ warranties are 24-months and 36-months depending on model).
• What is the warranty policy?
• Is the manufacturer continually improving the product?
• Does the manufacturer include research papers about its product on its website?

The bottom line of all this is, there are a lot of cushions that “look” like a ROHO but cost less — performance, seating and positioning and how a cushion protects your skin, how a cushion protects your bottom, should be the bottom line on cushion choice. And as always, it is vital to ask and make sure the exact make, model and size of cushion are included on all therapists’ and physicians’ prescriptions as in “ROHO® Quadtro Select® High Profile® Cushion, 16″ X 16″.



Bob VogelBob Vogel, 51, is a freelance writer for the ROHO Community blog. He is a dedicated dad, adventure athlete and journalist. Bob is in his 26th year as a T10 complete para. For the past two decades he has written for New Mobility magazine and is now their Senior Correspondent. He often seeks insight and perspective from his 10-year-old daughter, Sarah, and Schatzie, his 9-year-old German Shepherd service dog. The views and opinions expressed in this blog post are those of Bob Vogel and do not necessarily reflect the views of The ROHO Group. You can contact Bob Vogel by email at online.relations@therohogroup.com.