What Is a Standing Wheelchair?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2018
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A standing wheelchair has an adjustable frame that can elevate the user to a standing position. Manual and power versions are available, as are wheelchairs designed specifically for children. When people don’t need to stand, or want to be more secure, they can lower the frame to return to a seated position. This can be safer for movement, as considerable strain can be placed on the legs by moving with the chair extended to the standing position.

Manual chairs are powered entirely by the user, and this includes the frame. Typically users can adjust the frame into a number of positions to create a comfortable seated or standing position. Power or half power chairs use a motor to drive the standing wheelchair and/or the standing frame. In both cases, straps and support rods on the chair stabilize the user in a standing position to reduce the risk of falls and minimize strain on the body.

People may use standing wheelchairs for a number of reasons. One concern for full-time wheelchair users is the added risk of pressure sores and strain caused by sitting for extended periods of time. Being able to stand and stretch can redistribute weight and reduce the risk of sores. Since the operator can control the standing wheelchair, there is no need to rely on an aide to help with shifting weight to eliminate pressure on key points of the body.


Standing frames can also be helpful for engaging in activities designed for the eye level of a standing person. Those who use a standing wheelchair for mobility can stand at events to talk face to face with people, for example, or can elevate the chair to reach shelving and cupboards, cook, and perform other tasks. Some people feel more comfortable in this position when they’re in mixed groups, because it can address the power dynamic created when some people are sitting and others are standing.

It is important to fit a standing wheelchair properly. Some companies send out technicians and customize their products to the body of the customer. In other cases, people can work with a wheelchair or mobility specialist on fitting a chair and making any necessary adjustments. If the chair is not fitted correctly, people can develop pain and strain. They will also be less safe, as there may be an increased risk of slips, falls, and other problems in a poorly-fitted chair.


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