Rehab Trends

Environmental Access: A Natural Extension of Rehab?

With funding policies seeming to change every time the weather does, it's no surprise that many rehab technology suppliers are looking to diversify their products and services. Especially appealing are niches closely related to the rehab field… and a niche with a cash-pay business model would be nice, too.

Different rehab suppliers in different communities with different types of client needs have added lighter mobility fare such as scooters and lift chairs, or have ramped up their adaptive automotive services by offering accessible minivans or installing driving controls.

Other RTS's have looked closer to home for expansion ideas.

Home accessibility has long been an important part of the rehab spectrum, and many RTS's already offer aftermarket equipment solutions such as grab bars, patient lifts, entryway ramps and door openers. But RTS's who perhaps thought of such equipment sales as a small sideline to their core rehab business are now looking at a different possibility: that expanded home or environmental access products and services could benefit both supplier and end-user in a much bigger way.

After all, RTS's are already visiting and assessing client homes to make sure the seating and mobility systems being built will fit into their environments. While the RTS's are there, why not also have them take a professional look at the kitchen, entryway and bathroom — not just to make sure the doorway is wide enough for a wheelchair, but also to make product or building recommendations where needed?

So is environmental accessibility the next natural extension of rehab? Take a look at the following stories: Recipes for Creating Accessible & Successful Kitchens, U.S. Rehab Offers Home Modification Credential, Home Remodelers Certified for Aging-in-Place Work, Handi-Ramp Teams with Baird & Warner on Home Access Program and Building a Better Sidewalk?

This article originally appeared in the October 2006 issue of Mobility Management.

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