Specialization pays off for ISS

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Friday, December 29, 2017

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Exhibit space for the upcoming International Seating Symposium is such a hot commodity that there are 40-plus companies on a waiting list.

Exhibit space for ISS, March 6-9, at The Westin Bayshore, here, is locked in at 75 companies, including Inspired by Drive, Permobil and Invacare.

Maureen Story, who co-chairs the committee charged with planning ISS, spoke with HME News about why the event, which hops between Canada and the U.S. each year, has seen such dynamic growth.

HME News: What’s the overall theme of this year’s ISS?

Maureen Story: The main theme is consumers informing practice. We’ve really had this shift in our practice toward really listening to our clients, hearing what they have to say and involving them in the decision-making process. They should be leading that process. A number of our sessions look at: How can we improve our listening skills?

HME: This reflects a larger push to improve not only the health of wheelchair users but also their independence.

Story: Yes, it used to be we focused on, how are we going to seat this individual with good posture? Now we’re also focused on, how are we going to help this individual participate in life? My clients, who are children, don’t care if they’re sitting in good posture; they care if they’re going to be able to go to the playground and go to the movies.

HME: What’s new about this year’s event?

Story: People have said, “You have so much for clinicians and researchers, but not so much for technicians,” so we’ve included in our pre-symposium a number of sessions specifically for rehab technicians that look at making sure they’re developing the right competencies.

HME: Why do you think ISS is so in demand?

Story: It shows the interest in this field. In addition to the growth in exhibitors, we’ve seen a growth in attendees, as well. In Vancouver, we’re limited in how many attendees we can absorb, but in the states, there’s been a huge increase in attendees over the last few years. ISS is just so focused on their area of interest and expertise.

HME: What trends in attendance are you seeing?

Story: We’re drawing a lot of individuals from different countries, both in speakers and attendees. For our last symposium, 1,100 attendees from 27 countries were represented. In 1983, the first year, there were 97 attendees from other countries. In Nashville in 2017, there were more than 1,900.