The Power of Practicing Palliative CRT
- By Mark E. Smith
- Jan 01, 2017
Mark E. Smith on Capitol Hill
Since the 1990s, “palliative care” medicine has grown
exponentially. Palliative care medicine is focused
on those with chronic conditions and illnesses, but
rather than only focusing on the diagnosis, it recognizes
the person in whole. The results are astounding: when
the whole of the person is addressed — physically,
mentally, emotionally, socially — regardless of prognosis,
a higher quality of life is realized. The corner stone
of this, of course, is that physicians must truly listen to
What if we, in the complex rehab industry, took this
approach toward mobility technology? What if we didn’t
look at power chairs as required solely by diagnoses,
but viewed them as required by individuals seeking
the highest quality of lives possible? What if we truly
designed technologies not for the condition, but around
the individual, per his or her wishes?
Good Intentions vs. What Consumers Want
Several years ago, I recognized the value of this
approach more than ever in our industry. As we brought
more and more users into the literal design process,
those of us involved quickly realized that what consumers
truly needed wasn’t totally what we or our industry was
producing. All prior intentions were good; however, the
minute that we took a “palliative” approach — listening
and focusing on each individual’s entire quality of life —
we saw the future of mobility products.
Complex rehab consumers quickly showed us what
was lacking in their mobility. They pointed to many
aspects — from functional seat elevation to increased
battery range to lighting, and on and on. All of it,
however, came back to a fundamental principle:
mobility technology that addresses not just diagnoses,
but the entire life experience of the individual.
Consumers are shifting from wanting us to listen,
to demanding that we listen — and rightfully so. It’s
proving a tremendous opportunity to not just learn and
grow as professionals, but to improve the lives of those
who rely on complex rehab technology (CRT) even
further, all through a palliative approach. And when we
rightfully listen to
in the position
to further deliver
solutions that they
wish for and need.
in this process is
that when we truly
encompass all of
all aspects of their
features must be considered, and through consumers
seeing that occur, they are rightfully raising expectations,
understandably unwilling to settle for less than they
want, need and deserve for complete social inclusion.
In fact, this dynamic is extending to ATPs and funding
sources, where more quality-of-life features, like seat
elevation, are being readily covered. With this ground
swell, it seems only a matter of time before the Centers
for Medicare & Medicaid Services must change its
antiquated in-home-use-only reimbursement policy that
ignores the quality of life of individuals using CRT.
Defining Our Future
As an industry, our future has been staked out — and
it’s palliative. We must listen, include and address a
consumer-driven, quality-of-life path in every aspect of
our work. Consumers are increasingly setting the bar,
and for those among us who don’t rise to it, consumers
are already proving that they will take their mobility
needs to other providers and manufacturers.
For those of us who are rising to the ethical and moral
demands that consumers are requiring in all aspects of
complex rehab technology — true quality-of-life-based
products and services — we’re not only improving our
industry, but more importantly, the lives of those we serve.
Editor’s note: Mark E. Smith is a general manager for
Quantum Rehab and Pride Mobility Products, and is a
power chair user of 40 years.
This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of Mobility Management.
Mark E. Smith is the General Manager for Pride Mobility Products Corp., and can be reached at 800-800-8586, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.