More bathroom buddies

Sunday, August 31, 2008

ShowerBuddy in July introduced a new line of buddies designed to make bathing safer and easier.

“We expanded our line of products because we wanted to pretty much have a solution to almost any kind of problem in the shower, whether it’s a shower stall, bathtub, a smaller bathroom, a heavier person, a narrower door, a wider door,” said Israel Gamburd, director of research and development for ShowerBuddy USA.

The five new models are the TubBuddy, a chair designed to transfer a patient over a bathtub; the TubBuddy Tilt, a bath chair that tilts backward; the Roll-InBuddy, a chair used for roll-in showers or toileting; and the Roll-InBuddy with Tilt and the Roll-InBuddy Heavy Duty, both designed for commercial use.

The new products, as well as a revamped model of its flagship ShowerBuddy, reflect therapist, dealer and user requests for more attractive, smoother machines with more safety features, such as brakes, said Vadim Zitser, director of sales and marketing.

More than 300 ShowerBuddy units have been sold since the model was released last year, Zitser said.

Provider Paul Nelson estimated he’s sold between 25 to 30 ShowerBuddy units.

“It can be a pretty good cash business and we’ve also got them on our Web site so we get calls from people seeing them there and they like the versatility of the product,” said Nelson, sales manager at Phoenix, Ariz.-based Reliable Medical Products, a full line DME provider. “Whenever we get somebody who’s interested in them, we always like to go out to their home or the facility to make sure everything’s going to work.”

Gamburd said he recommends that providers offer ShowerBuddy products on a rental basis for people with temporary disabilities.

“All the parts come on and off the units and the cushions are replaceable at a reasonable cost to the dealer,” he said. “We’re pushing dealers to turn to that because we believe there’s great potential there.”