Editor's Note

Rolling Along

bar of soap

SOAP AND SUDS: DEPOSITPHOTOS/BOMBAERT

It’s the start of February as I write this, and I am at home. This is the time of year I’m typically packing and repacking my suitcase, and pouring my shampoo into little travel-sized bottles. But I’ve used only full-sized bottles of shampoo and large bars of soap since arriving home from the 2020 International Seating Symposium in Vancouver last March.

Obviously, the world has changed a lot since then. As someone who loves routine and derives reassurance from it, the new landscape has been challenging.

But happily, some crucial things about mobility have remained the same. For example, Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) and mobility manufacturers may be staying home a lot more than usual, but they’re also staying very busy. Because so many industry events typically take place in Q1, manufacturers began announcing and launching new products at the end of 2020, and the launch pace has quickened in the new year.

You can see Sunrise Medical’s new Nitrum ultralightweight wheelchair on page 26, and I’ll be covering many more CRT and accessibility/mobility launches in future issues and newsletters.

What I’m also noticing is other industries converging or crossing paths with CRT and accessibility applications. In fact, our ultralightweight chair story (page 14) takes a look at how materials and engineering practices in other industries have been adopted and adapted by our industries’ manufacturers for the benefit of consumers.

I’m hearing from manufacturers of robotics, orthotics and prosthetics, too, whose products could improve and support independent mobility. Autonomous cars have long sounded like a potential fit for consumers with disabilities; apps originally created for architects, contractors and interior designers could also be useful as home assessment or home accessibility tools (page 30).

On the clinical education front, early intervention continues to gain momentum, as does 24-hour postural support, aka, optimal positioning beyond wheelchairs and seating. And happily, telehealth and remote services sessions have worked so well that the CRT industry is lobbying to maintain those options beyond our public health emergency.

So while the pandemic continues to try our souls, mobility has done what it does best: find a way to keep moving. You’ve found ways to keep innovating, keep learning, keep communicating… while even improving some processes and while supporting colleagues, consumers and caregivers.

This public health emergency, too, shall pass. The last year has been full of stress and sorrow. But we will be together again. And in the mean time, it does my heart good to see wonderful things — creativity, perseverance, teaching, compassion, kindness — keep rolling right along, undeterred.

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

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