What Is a Standing Wheelchair for Quadriplegics?
A standing wheelchair for quadriplegics is a motorized chair that is powered by one or two batteries, with the intended purpose of traveling through all ranges of motion from sitting to standing and back to prone, allowing a better posture and the correction of symptoms like high blood pressure, caused by an individuals disability.
Can a paraplegic or quadriplegic stand?
A standing feature is an available option on most high-level powered wheelchairs and both mainstream, as well as custom devices, are available.
Both the user and wheelchair companies thrive from constant improvements involving technology and mechanics to add to the quality of life.
For the user, this not only begs the question of the dependability of the product but what the body may or may not be capable of.
Risks of Prolonged Sitting
Several health problems result from prolonged sitting: pressure sores, poor blood circulation, internal cavities tighten up which makes it so bladder/bowels do not work as well, breathing is more difficult, hamstrings get tight, and so on.
When the human body is seated, gravity is its enemy because it hinders the body’s functions. When the human body is standing, gravity is its friend because it helps the body function better.
Able-bodied people are told to not sit for prolonged periods of time because it can cause health issues, since the human body is made to walk and stand as well as sit.
Life after a spinal cord injury (SCI) has many secondary complications, such as UTIs (urinary tract infections) and osteoporosis, that can make life even more challenging and frustrating. Standing after an SCI helps prevent secondary complications from getting worse and might even eliminate secondary complications if done properly.
The Benefits of a Standing Position
Increased Bone Density
The first couple of years after an SCI is when the bones degrade the most and get weaker, resulting in osteoporosis, which can cause fractures. Bearing weight (standing) can make leg bones stronger.
Not being able to move your legs causes bad circulation in them, which can result in blood clots. Standing can help circulate blood and maintain blood pressure since the heart is pumping better.
When seated, the diaphragm has limited space. Standing gives the diaphragm more space to enlarge and shrink, which allows you to breathe in and out more effectively. This will help strengthen your lungs and allow you to cough to keep from being sick. Standing also helps you control your voice by making it stronger and louder.
Since standing helps with respiration, standing lets more oxygenated blood reach areas that are prone to pressure when in the seated position. Standing is the ultimate pressure relief because it promotes skin health and helps prevent pressure sores.
Improved Bowel Function
Not being able to control your bowels voluntarily can be frustrating; especially when accidents happen. Standing improves bowel function and could eliminate accidents by activating stomach muscles and allowing gravity to help digestion.
Better Bladder Management
Urinary incontinence becomes an issue when you can’t control your bladder voluntarily. Standing improves bladder function and could help prevent leakage, UTIs, and the need for bladder medication.
Prevent Tight Muscles
Standing stretches your hamstrings, tendons, muscles, and heel cords. This results in fewer contractures, muscle spasms, and could help minimize the need for muscle relaxers or medication.
Increased Overall Wellbeing
Standing increases your mood, gives you more stamina and helps you sleep, allows for eye-to-eye level conversations so you’re not being looked down upon and you don’t have to look up, and adds to your ability to reach things.
Higher Quality of Life
Standing after an SCI enhances your quality of life by decreasing the risk of secondary complications, achieving the ability to stand, and increasing the level of function while standing.
Standing opens the internal cavity, which gives the internal organs more room.
Standing Chairs for Quadriplegics
A standing wheelchair allows wheelchair users to stand wherever they are and multiple times each day while being mobile and getting the medical benefits of standing. A standing wheelchair supports the possibility of more job opportunities, increases your chance of employment, and gives you several occupational benefits. Utilizing a standing position feature for passive standing not only gives you multiple physical life benefits but allows people to see more of the person and less of the manual wheelchair when you are in standing wheelchairs.
More Benefits of A Standing Wheelchair
As mentioned previously, most clinicians are more than willing to work with you throughout the process (although this does not apply to some practices). For a custom-built standing motorized wheelchair especially, there may be an out-of-pocket cost to you as the user, but, investors are increasingly funding standing wheelchairs. In this case, a relationship with your doctor will be critical in providing documentation for the prescription of your chair and of your medical concern. The benefits you may reap include increased perfusion throughout your lower extremities, increased bone density, improved digestion, and better blood flow into the vital organs, enhanced respiration, improved mental health, access to spaces in your environment, the opened possibility to returning to a vocation, and the possibility of fewer medications needed.
There are many reasons you may be searching for a product made specifically for your diagnosis and it comes down to minimizing the symptoms you experience. So how do you make the best choice and what should you look for?
When Michael W. first received his Redman Power Chair, it “allowed me to stand up for the first time in 28 years,” he told interviewers. In his years of using a standing-powered wheelchair, he has traveled to twenty-one countries. Michael endures a C5 spinal cord injury and spent twenty-four years without standing.
Consulting your primary care physician, as well as a physical therapist and occupational therapist is crucial to receiving accurate medical information about your condition. There are many concerns involved and some include orthostatic blood pressure regulation, spinal surgery and fusions, amputations, knee replacements, and many other conditions. These conditions do not necessarily mean standing is not an option for you.
Most clinicians (physical therapy as a field in particular) are willing to work with your condition to correct anybody’s positioning that is not fixed. There are benefits to body positioning yourself with the help of instruction from your doctors. Depending on your condition the greatest benefit may be any of the following: increased perfusion throughout your lower extremities especially reaping increased bone density, improved digestion through expanding the torso and allowing better blood flow into vital organs, improved mental health, and many more.
There are many companies that provide customizable options. Redman Power Chair is a fully customizable product offering accessories to allow amputees, muscular dystrophy patients (as well as another diagnosis) in need of custom padding to choose from the options that may increase the probability of body positioning for the user.
In any case, collecting data for yourself will only benefit you and as Michael adds, “being able to stand up has changed my life in a lot of ways I am no longer at the bottom of the crowd, I am actually- when I stand up, the biggest guy in the room, again.”
Specifications of a Standing Wheelchair
Taking the time to measure and apply specifications for a product of interest in your home (specifically bathroom and living quarters) is one of the most overlooked tasks when researching for the correct wheelchair. Measurements to take into account are turn radius, width, length, seat to floor measurement, seat depth, armrest height, backrest height, battery life, maximum speed, the weight of the product, and the warranty available.
Most common complications include:
- Blood clots
- Pressure sores
- Autonomic Dysreflexia
- Respiratory issues
- Spastic muscles
- Secondary injuries
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
If any of these are issues for you the best choice is to choose a standing power chair with recognized codes for positioning and features such as tilt in space, recline, articulating legs, lower back and hip flexor stretch, heel cord stretch in the full recline position, custom dimensions, and proper specifications to access your home and environment.
Achieve Regular Mobility
Achieve regular mobility with the help of a Redman Power Chair. Our patented counterbalance system gives you the advantage. We have continuously perfected only one model for over 37 years through direct user feedback and without the filter of a middle man dealer. The result is a chair that tilts, stands, has a leg lift, and power recline; all these features work seamlessly with you, the user. Learn more and achieve regular mobility by continuing to explore our website.