RESNA takes new stand on restraints, updates stance on standing devices

Friday, March 28, 2014

ARLINGTON, Va. – Providers struggling to get standing equipment covered for their patients now have a stronger RESNA document to back them up.

RESNA in February revamped its position paper, titled “The Application of Wheelchair Standing Devices,” which documents available research and best clinical practice.

“The evidence that the use of standing devices improves health functions is now quite substantial, much more so than when the paper was first published five years ago,” said Andrea Van Hook, communications and marketing manager.

RESNA’s stance, as written in the paper: Standing has numerous medical benefits, including promoting vital organ capacity and reducing pressure ulcers. It also improves functional reach and the ability to participate in activities of daily living.

“RESNA produces these position papers to help practitioners understand and support the appropriate application of these technologies, and also to aid in documentation and justify recommendations for the most appropriate equipment for clients,” said co-author Brad Dicianno, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh.

Positioning vs. restraint

RESNA in February also published “RESNA Position on the Application of Wheelchairs, Seating Systems, and Secondary Supports for Positioning vs. Restraint.” 

Author Michelle Lange says the paper is vital, since so many people in the seating and positioning field are confused about the issue—especially since some payers see a positioning aid as a “seat belt” or restraint.

“By documenting current regulations and best clinical practice, we hope to inform the discussions that are happening every day in long-term care facilities, schools, and other venues regarding the use of postural supports versus physical restraints,” said Lange. 

If payers perceive those postural supports as physical restraints, the supports could be subject to an extra layer of rules and regulations, RESNA says. 

“Restraint policies, which are in place to assure that the rights of individuals are being met, can be subject to misinterpretation,” said Van Hook.