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Standing wheelchair

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A manual standing wheelchair
A manual standing wheelchair
A standing wheelchair (also known as a standing chair) is assistive technology, similar to a standing frame, that allows a wheelchair user to raise the chair from a seated to a standing position. The standing wheelchair supports the person in a standing position and enables interaction with people and objects at eye level.


Types and function

Three variations of standing wheelchairs[1] are available:

  • Manual - Chair mobility and lifting mechanisms are not powered.
  • Half-power - Chair features powered mobility but manual lifting mechanisms.
  • Full-power - Chair features powered mobility and hydraulic or otherwise powered lifting mechanisms.

Standing wheelchairs can be either manually or power-operated, and are used both to achieve regular mobility and to stand the person up using hydraulics or other power sources. Some standing wheelchairs may be driven from the standing position, however there is some medical concern of an increased risk of long bone fractures while driving due to the legs being under a heavy load.

Diagnosis and users

Standing wheelchairs are used by people with mild to severe disabilities including: spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, rett syndrome, post-polio syndrome and more.

Spinal cord injury - Standing chairs are used by people with both paraplegia and quadriplegia since a variety of standing options are available to accommodate for mild to severe disabilities.

Documentation and funding

Medicare may help fund some portion of a standing wheelchair, while Medicaid funding varies from state-to-state in the U.S. Many insurance companies, vocational rehabilitation organizations, and medical case managers are increasingly funding standing wheelchairs because of the long-term health and quality of life benefits that come from passive standing.

Effective documentation

Funding (government funding or insurance) for standing equipment is achievable, but usually requires medical justification and a letter of medical necessity (a detailed prescription) written by a physical therapist or medical professional.

Funding sources

In the U.S. there are various funding options for purchasing durable medical equipment (DME) such as standing wheelchairs:

  • Public insurance/government funding (i.e. Medicaid, Waivers, etc.)
  • Private insurance companies (i.e.Blue Cross, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), PPOs, etc.)
  • Worker's compensation
  • Disability insurance
  • Liability insurance (i.e. car, home, etc.)
  • Out-of-pocket (cash or credit card)
  • Possible payment plan through supplier
  • Child’s school purchase for use at school (i.e. standing is part of child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP))
  • Purchase by workplace for use while on the job
  • Purchase through VA Hospital
  • Assistance from local groups such (i.e. Rotary clubs, Lions, etc.)
  • Assistance from disability groups (i.e. MDA, MS Society, etc.)

Most states have resources such as PAAT (Protection Advocacy for Assistive Technology) and State Technology Assistance Projects that are resources for consumers seeking funding or going through the appeals process.




External links