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Standing Wheelchair for a Chef

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Richard Saab was working as a cook for Campbell Soup Company in 1996 when an aneurysm resulted in paralysis from his waist down. Due in part to difficulty keeping the lower part of his body warm, he moved to Florida to live with relatives during his recovery. He stayed in Florida after his wife passed away one year later.

Richard learned about the Florida Department of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) from the personnel manager at Wal-Mart. He later told his counselor, Linda Brown, about his desire to cook again. Linda had just had the opportunity to see a standing wheelchair demonstration and felt this might be key to helping him realize his goal. Linda also knew of the Hands On Education program, a short term, intensive program that trains students in various culinary occupations. (See the program profile later in this issue.)

Richard and Linda met with the director of the program and also arranged for the standing wheelchair sales representative to meet them at the training facility. After a consultation with his physician and subsequent physical therapy to increase his standing tolerance, Richard was accepted into this program and hired by the Hyatt Regency Hotel upon completion.

Richard is a sous chef and primarily prepares garnishes in the cold food department. He works 5 hours per day, with one break to sit down. He uses the public transit van for transportation to and from work. In addition to the standing wheelchair he keeps at the Hyatt, Richard has an electric wheelchair he uses during transit and a manual chair for use at home. His feet still swell after standing for 5 hours, but this is improving and his standing tolerance is increasing. He does elevate his legs for several hours each evening to reduce the swelling and stresses the importance of exercises to maintain strength and stamina, especially during his days off from the Hyatt.

Recommendations and Accommodation Strategies


1.Florida DVR purchased the standing wheelchair and the electric wheelchair.

2.Florida DVR also paid the tuition for the chef training program. A professional set of knives was included in the cost of the tuition.

3.The Hyatt purchased a basket to allow Richard to carry his knives between work stations.

4.Engineers at the Hyatt built a platform type box to raise the level of Richards's work station and a box for his knives, with a hook for easier lifting and carrying.


1.Richard moved into an apartment after he was hired by the Hyatt Regency and Florida DVR paid for modifications to his bathroom.

Where to Find AT from Case Example

•Easy Stand 5000 wheelchair, by Altimate Medical can be found at for $2695.

•A wheelchair basket similar to the one purchased and adapted for Richard can be found at for under $20.


This case study was originally documented by Tech Connections, a NIDRR-funded collaboration between United Cerebral Palsy Associations (UCP), the Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access at Georgia Tech (CATEA), and the Southeast Disability Business Technical Assistance Center (SE DBTAC). Training materials featuring this case study can be purchased through the Work RERC.