RESNA releases update on wheelchair standing devices position paper

Monday, February 10, 2014 - 5:00am

RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, has issued an update to the position paper entitled “The Application of Wheelchair Standing Devices: 2013 Current State of the Literature.” The purpose of the position paper is to document available research and best clinical practice to assist practitioners in supporting the appropriate application of wheelchair standing devices. The previous position paper was released in 2008/2009; RESNA’s rigorous process mandates that papers be updated every five years, in order to document current best practices and research. The position paper is not intended to replace clinical judgment related to specific client needs. 

Developed through RESNA’s Special Interest Group on Seating and Wheeled Mobility, the paper highlights, among other things, that:

  • People with disabilities are at risk of many secondary conditions that are directly related to immobility.
  • Standing through the use of a stationary standing device, or through the use of standing features on a manual or power wheelchair, is an essential component in the medical and rehabilitative care of some individuals. 
  • The use of standing devices can improve functional reach and access to enable participation in ADLs, improve mobility and lower limb function in those with some preservation of lower limb strength, improve range of motion and reduce the risk of contractures, promote vital organ capacity including pulmonary, bowel and bladder function, promote bone health, improve circulation, reduce abnormal muscle tone and spasticity, reduce the occurrence of pressure ulcers and skeletal deformities, and provide numerous psychosocial and quality of life benefits.

“RESNA produces these position papers to not only help practitioners understand and support the appropriate application of these technologies, but also to aid in documentation and justify recommendations for the most appropriate equipment for clients,” explained co-author Brad Dicianno, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

RESNA regularly publishes position papers and guides on assistive technology via an established and rigorous developmental and review process. Besides “The Application of Wheelchair Standing Devices,” other position papers and resources available on the website for free include:

  • The Application of Pediatric Power
  • The Application of Seat Elevating Devices
  • The Application of Tilt, Recline, and Elevating Legrests for Wheelchairs
  • The Application of Ultralight Manual Wheelchairs
  • Wheelchairs Used as Seats in Motor Vehicles
  • Wheelchair Service Provision Guide

In addition to Dicianno, the other authors are Amy Morgan, PT, ATP, of Permobil; Jenny Lieberman, MSOTR/L, ATP, Mount Sinai Hospital, NY; and Lauren Rosen, PT, MPT, MSMS, ATP/SMS, St. Joseph’s Childrens Hospital of Tampa.

The position paper is available for viewing and downloading on the RESNA website at  

To download the press release, please click here (PDF)