A veterans affairs hospital in Minneapolis has developed and engineered an improved design for a standing wheelchair in the hopes that it will help paralyzed veterans gain more independence. While not the first standing wheelchair, this new chair comes with many advances engineered to help veterans live better lives.
The new design takes existing wheelchairs and pushes the wheels up from the tire, allowing users to use their arm and core muscle to push as if they were seated. The chair also has four wheels contacting the ground at all times, making the transition from sitting to standing more smooth. This new chair is more stable and mobile and the movement more natural. With a few clicks, the chair transforms to allow patients to reach for something previously unattainable.
Paralyzed Veterans of America is providing funding for the first prototype. While several design changes still need to be made, this standing wheelchair is able to help disabled veterans regain a sense of stability and independence in their day-to-day lives. Now they are able to reach for a book on a higher shelf or get something out of a cabinet.
The goal of the chair is to make life easier for veterans and give those patients increased functional reach, an improved sense of well-being, and to decrease the reduction in sores and other problems associated with seated chairs. I am excited to increase funding and interest in developing these types of chairs and hope they will continue to improve the lives of veterans and people with paralysis.