date: Dec. 23, 2013
author: Dicianno BE, Morgan A, Lieberman J, Rosen L
publication: Assit Technol.
pubmed_ID: 26910615

This article, approved by the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America Board of Directors on December 23, 2013, shares typical clinical applications and provides evidence from the literature supporting the use of wheelchair standers

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A systematic review of supported standing programs

date: 2010;3(3):197-213. doi: 10.3233/PRM-2010-0129.
author: Glickman LB1, Geigle PR, Paleg GS.
publication: J Pediatr Rehabil Med.


The routine clinical use of supported standing in hospitals, schools and homes currently exists. Questions arise as to the nature of the evidence used to justify this practice. This systematic review investigated the available evidence underlying supported standing use based on the Center for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) Levels of Evidence framework.


The database search included MEDLINE, CINAHL, GoogleScholar, HighWire Press, PEDro, Cochrane Library databases, and APTAs Hooked on Evidence from January 1980 to October 2009 for studies that included supported standing devices for individuals of all ages, with a neuromuscular diagnosis. We identified 112 unique studies from which 39 met the inclusion criteria, 29 with adult and 10 with pediatric participants. In each group of studies were user and therapist survey responses in addition to results of clinical interventions.


The results are organized and reported by The International Classification of Function (ICF) framework in the following categories: b4: Functions of the cardiovascular, haematological, immunological, and respiratory systems; b5: Functions of the digestive, metabolic, and endocrine systems; b7: Neuromusculoskeletal and movement related functions; Combination of d4: Mobility, d8: Major life areas and Other activity and participation. The peer review journal studies mainly explored using supported standers for improving bone mineral density (BMD), cardiopulmonary function, muscle strength/function, and range of motion (ROM). The data were moderately strong for the use of supported standing for BMD increase, showed some support for decreasing hypertonicity (including spasticity) and improving ROM, and were inconclusive for other benefits of using supported standers for children and adults with neuromuscular disorders. The addition of whole body vibration (WBV) to supported standing activities appeared a promising trend but empirical data were inconclusive. The survey data from physical therapists (PTs) and participant users attributed numerous improved outcomes to supported standing: ROM, bowel/bladder, psychological, hypertonicity and pressure relief/bedsores. BMD was not a reported benefit according to the user group.


There exists a need for empirical mechanistic evidence to guide clinical supported standing programs across practice settings and with various-aged participants, particularly when considering a life-span approach to practice.

Osteomalacia associated with anticonvulsant drug therapy in mentally retarded children.

date: 08/01/1975
author: Tolman KG, Jubiz W, Sannella JJ, Madsen JA, Belsey RE, Goldsmith RS, Freston JW.
publication: Pediatrics. 1975 Jul;56(1):45-50.
pubmed_ID: 1161362

A survey of 289 severely retarded inpatients at a school for retarded children in American Fork; Utah revealed 67 patients with osteomalacia as defined by hypocalcemia, hypophosphatemia, elevated serum alkaline phosphatase levels, and appropriate bone changes. Investigation of the variables which might influence bone mineralization revealed no differences in age, sex, physical activity, sunshine exposure, or dietary intake of vitamin D between the osteomalacia and nonosteomalacia groups. However, all of the patients with osteomalacia were receiving anticonvulsant medications, either phenobarbital, diphenylhydantoin, or both. Duration of anticonvulsant therapy was the most important contributing factor to the development of osteomalacia. Seventy-five percent of patients who had received anticonvulsants for more than ten years had osteomalacia. The single most costly medical problem at the school is the treatment of pathologic bone fractures due to demineralized bone.

Standing and its importance in spinal cord injury management.

date: 01/01/1987
author: Axelson P, Gurski D, Lasko-Harvill A.
publication: RESNA 10th Annual Conference San Jose, California 1987
A broad spectrum of physiological problems are associated with lack of gravitational stress in the individual with spinal cord injury. Prolonged immobilization results in systemic de-adaptations which include cardiovascular changes, the alteration of calcium homeostasis which leads to bone de-mineralization and risk of urinary calculi.

Weight bearing in the standing posture has been shown to ameliorate many of these problems and offers physiological advantages for the individual with spinal card injury.

There are also significant psychological and social benefits to standing, including improved self-image, and eye-to-eye interpersonal contact. Increased vocational, recreational and daily living independence are additional benefits of standing.

Physical rehabilitation as an agent for recovery after spinal cord injury.

date: 05/18/2007
author: Behrman AL, Harkema SJ.
publication: Phys Med Rehabil Clin N Am. 2007 May;18(2):183-202, v.
pubmed_ID: 17543768

The initial level of injury and severity of volitional motor and clinically detectable sensory impairment has been considered the most reliable for predicting neurologic recovery of function after spinal cord injury (SCI). This consensus implies a limited expectation for physical rehabilitation interventions as important in the facilitation of recovery of function. The development of pharmacologic and surgical interventions has always been pursued with the intent of altering the expected trajectory of recovery after SCI, but only recently physical rehabilitation strategies have been considered to improve recovery beyond the initial prognosis. This article reviews the recent literature reporting emerging activity-based therapies that target recovery of standing and walking based on activity-dependent neuroplasticity. A classification scheme for physical rehabilitation interventions is also discussed to aid clinical decision making.

Use of prolonged standing for individuals with spinal cord injuries.

date: 08/01/2001
author: Eng JJ, Levins SM, Townson AF, Mah-Jones D, Bremner J, Huston G.
publication: Phys Ther. 2001 Aug;81(8):1392-9.
pubmed_ID: 11509069

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Prolonged standing in people with spinal cord injuries (SCIs) has the potential to affect a number of health-related areas such as reflex activity, joint range of motion, or well-being. The purpose of this study was to document the patterns of use of prolonged standing and their perceived effects in subjects with SCIs. SUBJECTS: The subjects were 152 adults with SCIs (103 male, 49 female; mean age=34 years, SD=8, range=18-55) who returned mailed survey questionnaires. METHODS: A 17-item self-report survey questionnaire was sent to the 463 members of a provincial spinal cord support organization. RESULTS: Survey responses for 26 of the 152 respondents were eliminated from the analysis because they had minimal effects from their injuries and did not need prolonged standing as an extra activity. Of the 126 remaining respondents, 38 respondents (30%) reported that they engaged in prolonged standing for an average of 40 minutes per session, 3 to 4 times a week, as a method to improve or maintain their health. The perceived benefits included improvements in several health-related areas such as well-being, circulation, skin integrity, reflex activity, bowel and bladder function, digestion, sleep, pain, and fatigue. The most common reason that prevented the respondents from standing was the cost of equipment to enable standing. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: Considering the many reported benefits of standing, this activity may be useful for people with SCI. This study identified a number of body systems and functions that may need to be investigated if clinical trials of prolonged standing in people with SCI are undertaken.

Follow-up assessment of standing mobility device users.

date: 10/01/1998
author: Dunn RB, Walter JS, Lucero Y, Weaver F, Langbein E, Fehr L, Johnson P, Riedy L.
publication: Assistive Technology. 1998;10(2):84-93.
pubmed_ID: 10339284

The use of standing devices by spinal cord-injured subjects was investigated through a national survey of a sample of individuals who returned their manufacturer’s warranty card to two companies. We obtained a 32% response rate (99/310). The majority of respondents were male (87%) with a median age between 41 and 50 years. Seventy-seven percent were paraplegic and 21% were quadriplegic. Forty percent had between 1 and 5 years experience with their device, and 84% of those responding were currently using their standing device. Forty-one percent used their standing device one to six times a week; two-thirds stood between 30 minutes and 1 hour for each use. Less than 10% of subjects experienced any side effects, such as nausea or headaches, from standing. Twenty-one percent of subjects reported being able to empty their bladder more completely. There was also a favorable response by some individuals on the effects of the standing devices on bowel regularity, reduction of urinary tract infections, leg spasticity, and number of bedsores. Finally, 79% of subjects highly recommended use of standing devices to other people with spinal cord injury. The positive responses of individuals using standing devices is a strong recommendation for the assistive technology community to make these devices more available to individuals with spinal cord injury.