Often times people think of a power wheelchair as a standard chair with a captain seat, primarily used for mobility. However, there many high end options that address those with more advanced diseases, diagnosis or injuries that have more than mobility needs. These high end power chairs fall under the complex rehab category or products and require an advanced mobility and seating evaluation by a supplier and the clients healthcare team.
RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, is a professional organizations that oversees these complex products and was developed to promote the health and well-being of those with disabilities through promoting better access to technology solutions. Thus, a position paper has been published by RESNA to discover the power seating options of a power wheelchair and how it affects those who are using it.
Power Seating Options of a Power Wheelchair
Recline, tilt, and elevating legrests are some of the features that can be operated manually, but can also be power options added to a wheelchair. These seat functions have a number of benefits to users, and are often medically necessary because they provide the following:
– Realignment of posture and improves overall function.
– Prevents orthopedic deformities, as well as contractures.
– Manages edema.
– Relieves pressure.
– Promotes seating tolerance and comfort.
Though, when using a power wheelchair, it’s important to practice special precautions in order to prevent the risks of injuries. Medical professionals should also be available to assist during trials and training of using the said equipment.
This research shows that the power seating options of a power wheelchair to tilt, elevate the legrests, and recline are advantageous for wheelchair users because it improves their mobility, posture, and lower limb function. Aside from these, it has also been noted that the use of power wheelchairs can also help in managing fatigue, improving the range of motion, promoting vital organ capacity, reducing the risk of contractures, and reducing the happenings of pressure ulcers.
Furthermore, although pressure has been defined in a number of ways in different studies and participant groups, the result, combined with the evidence suggests that the tilt and recline feature of power wheelchair usually affect the perfusion and pressure at the muscle tissue and skin and the ischial tuberosities. Also, when used alone, the tilt must be more than 25 degrees in order to achieve the ideal pressure relief. As for the recline, when used alone, this could increase shear, but studies show that it’s also capable of providing a reduction in pressure at the ischial tuberosities if the angle is greater than 100 degrees.
Overall, this type of power wheelchair provides a number of psychosocial and quality-of-life benefits. It’s perfect for those who utilize seat functions because of comfort, and the pain can be connected to pressure, prolonged seating, and being limited to change positions. Likewise, based on a recent publication, the majority of those who feel pain are either suffering from medical conditions contributing to it, but it could also be the cause of improperly configured wheelchairs.
As you can see, there is a great deal of clinical evidence behind these power wheelchairs. That is why you must be evaluated for these types of products by a physical or occupational therapist and/or physician as well as a experienced supplier to determine a medical necessity for insurance funding. Keystone Mobility is qualified to do this type of evaluation as we have a RESNA Certified Assistive Technology Professional on staff to work with your healthcare team to evaluate this need. We have provided these high end wheelchairs with specialty power seating and positioning products for residents in Dauphin, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Cumberland or other surrounding areas in central Pennsylvania. Contact us today to schedule a comprehensive seating and mobility evaluation.