Supine Standers for Cerebral Palsy


Children with cerebral palsy have difficulty controlling their muscles, which can make standing impossible. There are many types of standers and mobility supports on the market that are designed to help patients with cerebral palsy stand, move, and interact at head height with those around them. A supine stander is a highly supportive device that can help cerebral palsy patients with minimal muscle control enjoy the benefits of standing.

What Is a Supine Stander?

A supine stander is a piece of equipment that provides support and stability from behind for patients with musculoskeletal weakness. The stander is adjustable to lay in a horizontal or vertical position, with many angled options in between that help patients transition gradually from being bedridden to spending time in a standing position.

As the angle is adjusted, the supine stander gradually initiates weight-bearing on the lower extremities. A supine standing frame can typically reach up to 85 degrees of upright positioning.

Who Should Use a Supine Stander for CP?

There are many cases where a patient with cerebral palsy may benefit from the use of a supine stander. This device provides an extensive amount of support and stability, which isn’t necessary for all children with CP. If your child has adequate strength and control, this type of stander may be too restricting, and a wheelchair may be more appropriate. A supine stander is ideal for patients who:

  • Have minimum head control
  • Have recently been bedridden
  • Cannot stand independently
  • Require both lateral and anterior supports
  • Have a significant musculoskeletal weakness
  • Have a tracheotomy
  • Have orthostatic hypotension

If one or more of these conditions apply to your child, you may want to speak with their healthcare provider about the potential benefits of using a supine stander. This equipment is often used to help a child transition from a bedridden state to one with even greater mobility. Using a supine stander may help your child increase strength and control until they’re able to transition to a different type of mobility device.

The Importance of Standing

The primary purpose of a supine stander is to help children with cerebral palsy spend more time in an upright position. To fully grasp the potential benefits of a supine stander, it’s helpful to understand the importance of spending time in a standing position. Standing can:

  • Promote healthy bone growth, development, and density
  • Build endurance
  • Regulate resting muscle tone
  • Train the individual to understand where body parts are without the need to look at them
  • Lengthen the hamstrings
  • Provide more room for the diaphragm, making it easier to breathe deeply and efficiently
  • Increase vocalization and verbal communication
  • Improve circulation
  • Aid in digestion and toileting
  • Maintain or improve hip integrity
  • Relieve pressure from the skin, resulting in enhanced skin integrity and fewer bedsores
  • Increase alertness and decrease fatigue

Standing is integral to our overall health and wellness. In cases where a child cannot stand due to a condition such as cerebral palsy, the use of a supine stander can provide many of the benefits of standing independently.

Supine Stander Benefits

Using a supine stander provides a wealth of potential benefits to children with cerebral palsy. Some of the supine stander benefits that your child may enjoy include:

  • Improved motor function: Gross motor function and balance may increase in children with cerebral palsy when they use a stander.
  • Better quality of life: Many individuals report improved quality of life after using a stander, as it facilitates eye-to-eye conversations and increased self-esteem.
  • Decreased risk of bladder infections: Standing makes it easier to empty the bladder efficiently, which in turn will reduce the risk of urinary tract infections.
  • Easier transfers: Children using a supine stander can often transfer more easily from a wheelchair or bed.

Prone vs. Supine Standing Frames

A prone stander is a popular option that’s similar to a supine stander. Instead of supporting the individual from behind, a prone stander offers support from the front. Thus, a patient using a prone stander will lean forward slightly into the device while one in a supine standing frame will lean backward.

You may want a prone stander rather than a supine stander if:

  • Your child has good head and neck control.
  • You’re comfortable transferring the child directly to a standing position, rather than laying them down and gradually elevating them.
  • You can supervise the child closely while in the stander.

You should not use a prone stander if:

  • Your child is medically fragile.
  • Your child has a tracheotomy or G-tube.
  • Your child cannot support his or her head.

Speak with your healthcare provider for further guidance on the best type of stander for your child’s needs.

A supine stander is a significant investment, as are other forms of cerebral palsy therapy and care. If you believe that your loved one’s CP is the result of medical malpractice, you might be eligible for compensation to help cover some of these costs. Speak with the Cerebral Palsy Family Lawyers at Janet, Janet & Suggs, LLC for more insights into your case.

Was Your Child's CP Preventable?