Gendron rounds out bariatric line

Sunday, April 30, 2006

ARCHBOLD, Ohio - Gendron filled a conspicuous hole in its bariatric line in March with a new home care bed entitled, appropriately, the Home Care Bed, which can accommodate patients weighing up to 650 pounds.
"We've been manufacturing beds for acute and long-term care for a number of years, and some of the long-term beds were ending up in the patient's home and that is the wrong use," said Gendron President Steve Cotter. "Now we have a bariatric bed for the in-home patient that addresses needs of space, transportation, setup and tear down and the clinical requirements."
Five or six years ago, due to relationships with acute care facilities, Gendron officials noted the growing numbers of obese patients and began to focus almost exclusively on the bariatric market.
In addition to the Home Care Bed, Gendron's line of bariatric products for the home includes manual and power wheelchairs, ambulatory products, bath safety products, shower chairs, patient room seating, lift and transfer products. The company also recently launched a line of bariatric support surfaces (alternating pressure and low-air loss) for home use.
When it comes to bariatric products, Cotter doesn't see the demand slowing down anytime soon.
"We can counsel and preach and force McDonald's to make a low fat menu and force food companies into different types of labeling, but how may years ago was the public warned about the hazards of smoking?" he said. "Forty years ago and (people) are just now getting the message."
Don't expect warnings against obesity, which have been out less than a decade, to take hold any quicker, he said.
Cotter also has his own theory on why homecare providers continue to see a growing number of bariatric patients. Diet and lack of exercise continue to drive America's obesity epidemic, but when it comes to driving bariatric business to HMEs, there's more at play, he said.
"Recently, funding sources--private insurers, Medicare and Medicaid--have begun to understand that if you treat the core disease, obesity, that you potentially avoid all of the systemic problems: hypertension, diabetes, coronary issues and (other) issues that could be fatal. That is forcing these people out and into the healthcare systems, and we are seeing growth."