Keep patients in their homes

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Q. I’d like to add home modifications to my product mix. How do I get started?

A. In my experience as a consultant for the “aging in place market,” I have found that most DME dealers limit what they offer their clients. But there is so much that dealers can offer that can benefit themselves and their businesses, as well as their clients in their homes: grab bars, sliding bathing transfer systems and portable ramps just to name a few. Here are a few things dealers should consider:

How do I know what home modifications to offer?

When you visit clients’ homes, be methodical. Ask them to show you their daily activities of living, such as reaching things in the kitchen, coming in and out of the house, and using their bathroom and toilet. This may lead you to suggest installing a roll-in shower, widening doors or changing flooring to hard surfaces. It’s important work: The modifications you recommend could mean the difference between keeping them in their homes and moving them to an assisted living facility.

What are some of the most popular products?

Walk-in bathing units are very popular. These units offer amazing capabilities for clients who are incontinent, who are permanent wheelchair users, etc. We also find a large need for handicap door hinge installation, small portable ramps and grab bars.

How do I become a specialist in providing/installing these products?

First you have to decide if you want to hire a contractor or become one. The installation of home modification products is something that needs to be done with the utmost care and accuracy. Becoming a CEAC certified and CAPS certified professional is a good start to the education process. If you are not qualified to install the products, you must become qualified or hire someone who is.

The most important and rewarding part of providing home modifications products is that we help to keep loved ones home, where families and memories are.

Robert Gurinowitsch is the owner of Life Access. He can be reached at 866-434-5744 or