This Buddy aims to be your buddy

Friday, November 30, 2007

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - If HME providers take to Israel Gamburd's new product, the ShowerBuddy, the way patients have, he's going to be a very popular guy, to say the least.
"You can imagine all the hugs and kisses I get when I install one of these units for someone who hasn't had a shower in two or three months," said Gamburd, director of research and development for ShowerBuddy USA.
The company debuted a prototype of the ShowerBuddy earlier this year, and began taking orders in October at Medtrade. In a nutshell, the product is a combination wheelchair/commode that slides in and out of a shower stall on rails (making it ideal for someone who lives in an apartment). The detachable front rail and bridge allows the shower door to close. The ShowerBuddy's 360-degree rotating seat improves showering, Gamburd said.
In addition to use as a standalone commode, the ShowerBuddy can connect to rails and move back and forth over a toilet.
"The last thing you want to do is remodel a beautiful bathroom that has just been remodeled, and we had a situation like that recently," said Vadim Zitzer, national sales manager.
Unfortunately, remodeling a bathroom to accommodate the needs of a wheelchair patient can cost thousands of dollars and patients who can't afford that expense often make due with sponge baths. The ShowerBuddy is out to change that, Gamburd said.
At just under 22 inches wide, the ShowerBuddy can pass easily through most doorways. With an MSRP of $1,895 it also offers a nice cash sale opportunity for providers, said Gamburd, who also owns Gamburd Medical Equipment in Hollywood, Calif.
"I've always concentrated on cash," he said. "When I started my company, I used to do wheelchairs and hospital beds, and when we delivered a hospital bed into a dining room, I would say, 'Why don't you sleep upstairs?' and they would say, 'I can't go up stairs.' Well, I had a solution, and I became one of southern California's largest stair lift dealers."