RESNA Releases Position Papers on Wheelchair Standing & Postural Supports

The Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) has released two new position papers on the topics of standing and postural supports.

The first paper -- Application of Wheelchair Standing Devices: 2013 Current State of Literature -- is an update of the position paper the organization first released in 2009, said RESNA Communications & Marketing Manager Andrea Van Hook.

"There's now even more documented evidence that wheelchair standing devices have extensive health benefits for people with disabilities who are at risk of many secondary conditions that are directly related to immobility," Van Hook told Mobility Management in announcing the new position papers.

RESNA updates position papers every five years. The new paper’s authors are Brad Dicianno, M.D., University of Pittsburgh department of physical medicine & rehabilitation; Amy Morgan, PT, ATP, Permobil; Jenny Lieberman, MS, OTR/L, ATP, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York; and Lauren Rosen, PT, MPT, MSMS, ATP/SMS, St. Joseph's Children’s Hospital of Tampa.

While RESNA cautions that the position paper "is not intended to replace clinical judgment related to specific client needs," Dicianno said in the news announcement, "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."

The standing devices paper discusses how standing can improve a wide range of functions for many wheelchair users, and also defines standing technology, issues precautions and offers case studies about successful standing regimens.

The second new position paper seeks to help providers and clinicians to differentiate postural components -- including positioning systems such as tilt and recline -- from the physical restraints used in hospitals, schools and other settings, and whose use is highly regulated.

Michelle L. Lange, OTR, ABDA, ATP/SMS of Access to Independence Inc., is one of the paper's co-authors. In the news announcement, she said, "By documenting current regulations and best clinical practice, we hope to inform the discussions that are happening every day in long-term care facilities, schools and other venues regarding the use of postural supports versus physical restraints. Practitioners can use the information in this paper to support appropriate postural supports that will improve the function and mobility of their clients."

The paper focuses on how postural supports differ in function and application from physical restraints used to prevent a patient or student from harming himself or others.

In addition, the paper tackles the more complex topic of when postural supports -- such as trays or anterior pelvic supports -- can be clinically indicated for clients.

In addition to Lange, the authors of the paper are Michael Babinec, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP, Invacare Corp.; Elizabeth Cole, MS, PT, U.S. Rehab; Barbara Crane, Ph.D., PT, ATP/SMS, University of Hartford, Conn.; Steven Dahling, ATP, RET, Rusk Institute of Rehab Medicine; Delia Freney, OTR/L, ATP, Kaiser Permanente; Barbara Jungbluth-Jermyn, M. Ed, BS PT, ATP, Mobility in Focus LLC; Yunn-Yi Pau-Lee, PT, MA, Lakeview School, New Jersey; Donald N. Olson, PT, ATP, North Dakota Life Skills and Transition Center; Jessica Pederson, MBA, OTR/L, ATP/SMS, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago; Cynthia Potter, DPT, PT, PCS, Healthquest Community Services; David Savage, ATP/SMS, RET, Community Services Group; and Mary Shea, MA, OTR/L, ATP, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation.

To download the position papers or access other RESNA position papers, visit RESNA's Web site.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at

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