ISS 2017 Program


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PC08: The Wheelchair Clinic Experience: Effective, Efficient, Empowering

Challenges within a wheelchair clinic are present whether you are the therapist, vendor, or patient. The frustrations can often outweigh the successes causing delays, improper seating and positioning, impaired mobility and overall dissatisfaction.

Representatives of the Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) Team will debate the common practices of a wheelchair clinic in this interactive course. Ideas and research will be presented from each team member's perspectives on how to improve the wheelchair evaluation, fitting, and delivery process. Examples will include implementing outcome measures, promoting patient advocacy, educating those with less equipment experience and maximizing team communication.


Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this session, attendees will be able to;



Nicole B LaBerge, PT, ATP
Hennepin County Medical Center
Minneapolis, Minnesota
United States

Nicole is a Physical Therapist and Assistive Technology Professional, who has 10+ years working in a variety of clinical settings including outpatient rehab, aquatic therapy, acute care, sub acute and long term care. She has held her ATP certification through RESNA since 2008, and is passionate about Seating and Mobility. She strongly advocates that her patients have access to the most appropriate complex rehab equipment, as she has seen how it can positively affect their independence.

Britta Schwartzhoff, PT, DPT
Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare
St. Paul, MN
United States

Britta received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. Britta works at Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare Lifetime Clinic, serving adults with childhood onset disabilities by providing patients with tools and equipment that promote independence throughout life. Britta has had the opportunity to present at multiple international level conferences regarding adults with disabilities and complex rehab needs. She is passionate about providing opportunities for her patients to improve their independence.

Leena Rapacz, PT, DPT
Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute
Golden Valley, MN
United States

Leena Rapacz graduated from the College of St. Catherine's DPT program in 2006 and has been employed at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute since that time. She works in a Transitional Rehabilitation Program that serves primarily individuals with spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and stroke, along with other neurological diagnoses. Areas of special interest include spinal cord injury rehab, use of FES technologies, and seating and positioning. She also serves as adjunct faculty at the College of St. Catherine.

Todd Hertenstein, ATP
Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare
St. Paul, MN
United States

I have worked at Gillette lifetime specialty healthcare for the past 10 years. My primary focus is evaluating, fabricating and providing complex custom seating and adaptive equipment. Additional equipment includes custom lap trays, headrests, communication device mounts, protective helmets and custom wheelchair modifications. I also travel to Gillette outreach locations within the state of Minnesota to provide services to clients in the outstate area.

Michael Ruyman, ATP
Handi Medical Supply
St. Paul, MN
United States

Mike has worked in the DME industry since 1995 .
Atp since 2002 and currently the Director of Rehab services at Handi Medical Supply.



    1. Hoenig, H., Morgan, M., Montgomery, C., Landerman, L.R., & Caves, K. (2015). One size does not fit all- mobility device type affects speed, collisions, fatigue, and pain. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 96(3):489-97.
    2. Dolan, M.J., & Henderson, G.I. (2014). Patient and equipment profile for wheelchair seating clinic provision. Disability Rehabilitation Assistive Technolgy. 9(2): 136-43.
    3. Ward, A.L., Sanjak, M., Duffy, K., Bravver, E., Williams, N., Nichols, M., & Brooks, B.R. (2010). Power wheelchair prescription, utilization, satisfaction, and cost for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: preliminary data for evidence-based guidelines. Archives Physical Medicine Rehabilitation. 91(2): 268-72.
    4. Taylor, S., Gassaway, J., Heisler-Varriale, L.A., Kozlowski, A., Teeter, L., Labarbera, J., Vargas, C., Natale, A., & Swirsky, A. (2015). Patterns in Wheeled Mobility Skills Training, Equipment Evaluation, and Utilization: Findings from the SCIRehab Project. Assistive Technology. 27(2): 59-68.
    5. Ryan, S.E., Sawatzky, B., Campbell, K.A., Rigby, P.J., Montpetit, K., Roxborough, L., & McKeever, P.D. (2014). Functional outcomes associated with adaptive seating interventions in children and youth with wheeled mobility needs. Archives Physical Medicine Rehabilitation. 95(5): 825-31.

      Kumar, A., Schmeler, M.R., Karmarkar, A.M., Collins, D.M., Cooper, R., Cooper, R.A., Shin, H., & Holm, M.B. (2013). Test-retest reliability of the functional mobility assessment (FMA): a pilot study. Disability Rehabilitation Assistive Technology. 8(3): 213-9.

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