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Wheelchair Seating Assessment: Positioning the Upper Extremities

presented by Michelle L. Lange

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Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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Do the upper extremities really require positioning? Muscle weakness, paralysis or uncontrolled movements may need to be addressed by the wheelchair seating system. This course will present specific positioning needs and suggested interventions. By providing adequate support and control of the arms, the seating system can provide postural support, protect the shoulders from injury and limit uncontrolled movements.

Meet Your Instructor

Michelle L. Lange, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP/SMS

Michelle is an occupational therapist with nearly 30 years of experience in the area of assistive technology. She is the former Clinical Director of The Assistive Technology Clinics of The Children’s Hospital of Denver and has been in private practice at Access to Independence, Inc. for 10 years. Michelle’s work in assistive technology covers a…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Positioning the Upper Extremities: Providing Additional Support

This chapter will present scenarios where additional postural support is required for the upper extremities, such as with muscle weakness and paralysis. Suggested strategies will be presented. Goals of addressing this need will also be presented which can, in turn, be used as justification for seating interventions in documentation. Providing adequate postural support can protect shoulder integrity and prevent the arms from dropping to the sides where injury may occur.

2. Positioning the Upper Extremities: Destructive Postures

This chapter will address several common destructive postures of the upper extremities, possible causes, suggested solutions and goals. These postures can lead to range of motion losses, loss of shoulder integrity and other orthopedic distortions. Strategies to achieve a more neutral alignment can minimize these risks.

3. Positioning the Upper Extremities: Uncontrolled Movements

This chapter will address uncontrolled movements of the upper extremities, including self-destructive movements. Positioning the upper extremities protects the client and others, and also provides stability.

More Courses in this Series

Wheelchair Seating Assessment: The Mat Assessment

Presented by Michelle L. Lange, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP/SMS

Wheelchair Seating Assessment: The Mat Assessment

Subscribe now, and access clinical education and patient education—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.
What is a Mat Assessment? A Mat Assessment is the starting point of a wheelchair seating evaluation and critical to achieving a successful outcome. This course will present the key components of a mat assessment including important measurements. A mat assessment demonstration will take the participant through each step. The mat assessment determines specific seated angles and postural support requirements necessary for a final seating system recommendation.

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Wheelchair Seating Assessment: Positioning the Pelvis

Presented by Michelle L. Lange, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP/SMS

Wheelchair Seating Assessment: Positioning the Pelvis

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What is the cornerstone of wheelchair positioning? The pelvis. The position of the pelvis very much determines the position of the trunk and lower extremities and so achieving and maintaining the optimal position is critical. This course will present common pelvic asymmetries with suggested strategies to address each challenge. Providing as neutral a pelvic position as possible improves overall posture, stability and function.

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Wheelchair Seating Assessment: Positioning the Trunk

Presented by Michelle L. Lange, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP/SMS

Wheelchair Seating Assessment: Positioning the Trunk

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What needs to be considered when positioning the trunk in wheelchair seating? If asymmetries are flexible, then the goal becomes to achieve symmetry as close to neutral as possible. If the asymmetries are fixed, then the seating system must accommodate the shape of the spine and ribcage to distribution pressure and reduce risk of further loss of range. This course will present common trunk asymmetries with suggested strategies to address each challenge. Providing as neutral a trunk position as possible improves overall posture, stability and function.

View full course details

Wheelchair Seating Assessment: Positioning the Lower Extremities

Presented by Michelle L. Lange, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP/SMS

Wheelchair Seating Assessment: Positioning the Lower Extremities

Subscribe now, and access clinical education and patient education—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.
What is addressed in wheelchair positioning after the pelvis and trunk? The lower extremities. The goals of positioning the legs are to achieve a neutral alignment, when possible, or accommodate range limitations if not. This course will systematically address potential lower extremity positioning challenges with suggested interventions. By specifically positioning the legs, the seating system provides stability, function and even protection from injury.

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Wheelchair Seating Assessment: Positioning the Head

Presented by Michelle L. Lange, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP/SMS

Wheelchair Seating Assessment: Positioning the Head

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Does every client need head positioning as a part of a wheelchair seating system? No, many clients have adequate head control so that no further support is needed. However, many other clients require intervention to achieve and maintain an upright head position. An upright head is essential to optimize vision, breathing and swallowing. In this course we'll show demonstrations for seating interventions, different head supports, and various seating components as a part of posterior head support.

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