Date: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, has issued a new position paper entitled “The Application of Ultralight Manual Wheelchairs.” The purpose of the position paper is to document available research and best clinical practice to assist practitioners in supporting the appropriate application of fully customizable manual wheelchairs. It is not intended to replace clinical judgment related to specific client needs.
Developed through RESNA’s Special Interest Group on Seating and Wheeled Mobility, the paper highlights, among other things, that:
- Wheelchairs should conform to the individual and not the individual to the chair;
- Wheelchairs should be as lightweight as possible while also being fully adjustable to meet the individual’s needs; and
- Wheelchairs that are lightweight and adjustable cause the least amount of injury to users and increase functionality.
The paper does not comment on the use of specific materials in wheelchairs, but does provide a definition of “ultralight” based on current scientific literature and Medicare policy.
“Practitioners find RESNA position papers useful because they directly address today’s key issues, in this case surrounding the design, configuration, and application of wheelchairs,” explained co-author Carmen DiGiovine, PhD, RET, ATP. “By combining information about available research and best clinical practice, the paper provides a reference for practitioners to justify and support recommendations for the most appropriate equipment for clients.”
“As a practicing clinician, I find RESNA position papers very useful. They assist me in justifying the assistive technology that best suits my clients’ needs,” said co-author Lauren Rosen, PT, MTP, MSMS, ATP/SMS. “These papers do not take the place of a clinician’s judgment, but help to support it.”
RESNA regularly publishes position papers and guides on assistive technology via an established and rigorous developmental and review process. Besides “The Application of Ultralight Manual Wheelchairs,” other position papers and resources available on the website for free include:
- The Application of Pediatric Power
- The Application of Seat Elevating Devices
- The Application of Tilt, Recline, and Elevating Legrests for Wheelchairs
- The Application of Wheelchair Standing Devices
- Wheelchairs Used as Seats in Motor Vehicles
- Wheelchair Service Provision Guide
In addition to DiGiovine and Rosen, the current paper is the work of six authors including Theresa Berner (OTR/L, ATP), Kendra Betz (MPT, ATP), Tina Roesler (PT, MS, ABDA) and Mark Schmeler (PhD, OTR/L, ATP). The position paper is available for viewing and downloading on the RESNA website by clicking here. The paper will be submitted to the Assistive Technology Journal for publication later this year.