Therapeutic Positioning, Wheelchair Seating, and Pulmonary Function of Children with Cerebral Palsy: A Research Synthesis


  • Lee Barks MN ARNP CDDN PhD(c)

    Doctoral Student, Corresponding author
      1 Village Green, Longwood, FL 32779, or e-mail
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Lee Barks is a doctoral student at the University of South Florida.

1 Village Green, Longwood, FL 32779, or e-mail


This review analyzed research literature concerning pulmonary function and positioning of persons with cerebral palsy (CP) who lack trunk control. The search reviewed iterature publishedl from 1966 through March 2003. Twenty-eight references located by electronic database search were analyzed using Moody's Research Analysis Tool. All reflected either a physiologic or therapy-based model involving function in activities of daily living, but no health outcomes. One reference applied a nursing model to care of developmentally disabled persons, including those with CP. Existing research gaps include the need for human subjects, larger sample sizes, measurement of influence of gravity on body position, greater precision in describing independent variables of positioning, and participation by children with disabilities. This paper proposes a conceptual model using Orem's self-care theory upon which to base nursing interventions, including therapeutic positioning of persons with CP who lack trunk control. Future nursing research should explore health outcomes of various properties of wheelchair positioning.