Medtrade Show

Some people think of last month’s Medtrade show (see event coverage in MMBeat) as a selling show with aisle after aisle of three-day specials. Some see it as a networking event. Others as the chance to scoop up those all-important CEUs.

Maybe it’s just because I had this month’s Seating Clinic on my mind at the time, but to me, Medtrade seemed all about positioning and pressure relief.

Think about it: That lingering red spot on my right shoulder? That’s a pressure-related injury from toting my heavy camera bag for four days without switching the bag from shoulder to shoulder often enough. My sore feet? Possibly from not doing effective weight shifts when standing in booths, or from not changing shoes often enough to vary my pressure points. Exhibitors like A.R.T. Group talking about the need for dynamic seating systems that give kids the ability to move? Well, their point was well taken on my long flight home Thursday night, when I noticed that nothing makes passengers leap to their feet quite like the flight attendant announcing, “The captain has turned on the ‘Fasten Seatbelt’ sign. Please stay in your seats with your seatbelts fastened.” So of course, we jump up and queue for the restrooms. Hey, we’re only human, and humans intrinsically need to move.

Our annual Seating Clinic cover feature concentrates on positioning such as tilt, recline, precline, asymmetries, seat elevation and standing — plus funding updates and a photo album of memorable Medtrade seating & positioning discoveries. There’s some good news (tilt & recline), some mixed news (funding for standing equipment) and some stagnant news (seating elevators not necessary? How much longer is that charade going to continue?).

Positioning is one of my favorite editorial topics, and I loved, for instance, seeing government guru (and new Nashville City Councilman) Darren Jernigan use his elevating seat to get a better view of the dance floor at Permobil’s big dealer party. But right after I returned home, I heard from an old friend who’s spent the last two years bed-bound to recuperate from pressure ulcers incurred from poor positioning during a hospital stay. He’s finally able, he says, to start relearning how to transfer into his wheelchair. There is so much to lose when funding sources, hospitals and others don’t understand the importance of preventive positioning.

Shifting gears now: Polybagged with this issue is our first-ever Home & Environmental Accessibility Handbook. That was another big Medtrade theme — but manufacturers did more than just roll out new products. They also showed ways that suppliers can effectively market and sell those products, via planograms, fixtures and displays. Our Handbook does the same thing: We highlight some cool new offerings, but we also offer expert advice on how to break into the market (you can do it at your own pace), then grow the market (because accessibility should NOT be limited to homes). If you’re looking for a way to expand your business and perhaps adopt new revenue streams, we hope our Handbook will give you something to think about… and perhaps put you in a whole new position of power in 2008. l

This article originally appeared in the November 2007 issue of Mobility Management.

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