RESNA backs up ultralight wheelchairs

Thursday, April 26, 2012

ARLINGTON, Va. – A fully-customizable ultralight manual wheelchair can prevent injuries and pain, and improve functionality, according to a new RESNA position paper. 

The "RESNA Position on the Application of Ultralight Manual Wheelchairs," released April 18, combines research with current best clinical practices to support the use of customizable ultralight manual wheelchairs. 

"There are ultralight wheelchairs that are being produced that are not customizable," said Andrea Van Hook, RESNA communications and marketing manager. "The idea here is to promote fully customizable ultralight manual wheelchairs."

The paper supports RESNA’s overall philosophy that the wheelchair should conform to the individual, not the individual to the wheelchair, said Van Hook. 

"It's about the individual being able to fully realize their maximum health and well-being through the use of assistive technology,” she said.

Practitioners in the field use position papers like these to back up their clinical judgment to funding sources, Van Hook said. The paper holds weight with funding sources because it comes from a neutral party, she said. 

"We're a professional society based on individual membership,” Van Hook said. “It's not like we represent one area of the industry. It really allows the focus to be on available research and best clinical practice."

The position paper is available at



Customizable powered wheelchairs are also coming to light as advances in technology make it possible to make chairs lighter and more efficient.