Views: 1 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2021-06-25 Origin: Site
Naturally, wheelchair users will spend a large proportion of their time in a seated position, unfortunately this can have a negative impact on their health with side effects including pressure ulcers. Standing power wheelchairs can offer a solution for wheelchair users who are looking to realize the health and lifestyle benefits of a more upright posture, or who want the ability to change position.
Physical Benefits of Standing Wheelchairs
Improved breathing function
When breathing, the human body needs to make use of the respiratory system, made up of respiratory organs and muscles. Wheelchair users tend to have respiratory compromise, whether that's due to having restrictive function in the upper part of the body, or because being in a seated position means that the area is affected by pressure and gravity.
Blood flow enhancement
Blood circulation improves with standing for two reasons. The first is that the circulatory system keeps a strong connection with the respiratory system. This means that if standing helps the respiratory system to breathe better, the circulatory system will spread oxygen more effectively.
Enhancing bladder & bowel function
Gravity plays an important role when it comes to getting rid of bodily waste. Standing makes it easier to empty the bladder and bowel. As for the bladder, standing reduces the risk of infections due to incomplete urine draining, avoiding kidney and bladder stones at the same time.
Increased bone density
Holding up our own body weight is important to maintain bone health and strength. By keeping a sitting position, this option is absent, so the bones become fragile, increasing the risk of suffering osteoporosis (bone weakening) and bone deformities. Keeping a good bone density depends on multiple things like calcium, vitamin D and physical activity. When having no mobility in the lower limbs, weight bearing can be considered a kind of physical activity, so that standing will be advantageous in maintaining and/or increasing bone density.
Pressure ulcers are skin and tissue injuries, which happen because of constant pressure over the skin. In most cases, pressure ulcers appear over skin that covers the bones, including the coccyx, shoulder blades, backbone, etc. The most common way to prevent them is to use a cushion to provide the user with correct positioning and pressure relief. But certainly, having no pressure at all is even more effective as it is the only position where pressure is completely avoided and blood can freely circulate.
Other Benefits of Standing Wheelchairs
Independence is something usually compromised when lacking mobility. Standing wheelchairs are not able to bring all that independence back, but they could be a huge help to facilitate some new positions and activities that wouldn't be possible if that standing option was absent. Apart from that, the cost of buying a power wheelchair with standing function may be compensated, as it lessens the need of home adaptations and reduces the levels of attendant care required, which can lead to a significant money saving. Independently reaching items on higher shelves is just one example of how standing wheelchair functionality can be beneficial.
Easier and safer transfers
High tone is sometimes a problem when it comes to transfers, as it becomes more difficult for the caregiver. As we have previously mentioned, standing could make the difference by reducing spasticity and contracture and to make transfers easier and safer. Some power wheelchairs also have a specific position to assist with transfers.
Social participation and engagement
Having a new height when standing can give power wheelchair users more confidence when it comes to engaging in social activities. They can interact whilst making eye contact with the people in their environment, making them feel more integrated into social situations and society.
Standing power wheelchairs have many benefits, which are, together with the benefits of seat elevation, often perceived as a luxury. It is true that getting funds to buy these kinds of power wheelchairs can be difficult. In these cases it's not just the clinical and social benefits of the wheelchair that need to be taken into consideration, but also the cost saving advantages of not requiring home adaptations and assistance.
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