As I travel around the country, I sometimes hear healthcare professionals and ATP suppliers express their opinion that a particular person will not benefit from a standing program for many reasons. Some are valid as with people that have severe bone and joint problems or other contraindications to standing, but too often they are making judgments that are untrue or drawing the wrong conclusion, where by preventing an individual the chance to evaluate a standing program themselves. Here are a few of the reasons I have heard that standing will not work, or that the client will not benefit:
- The client is too disabled (Even people who are C1-C2 vent dependent quadriplegics can use the EasyStand)
- The client is not disabled enough (anyone, even active paraplegics, can benefit from standing)
- The client has not stood for several years (start by talking to your doctor, they may want a DEXA scan done)
- The client needs a new wheelchair, so we do not want to jeopardize the funding (a cap on lifetime benefits or durable medical equipment would be the only thing to take into consideration)
- The caregivers will not be able to handle it (there are many different standers and options to help with transferring & compliance)
Not everyone is appropriate for a standing program, but 90% of these reasons mentioned are inaccurate or wrong. We have people benefiting from standing that are ambulatory but they need the strengthening and balance that standing provides. We have others that have little, to no voluntary movement that stand every day. Also, requesting a stander from a funding source has little bearing on getting other medical equipment. Most speculation about how the stander will work out with the family or school is best addressed by bringing them into the evaluation.
If a doctor withheld information from you that could improve your health and alleviate adverse symptoms, you would likely change doctors. Individuals and parents need to have all the care options explained and it is the responsibility of the health care provider to put them all on the table.
Did your perceptions change about who is/is not a candidate for standing? What do you think the greatest misconceptions are?