STOP!signs issues alert: Oxygen in use

Monday, July 31, 2006

AMHERST, N.Y. - Jodi Aiken can now add HME manufacturer to a resume that already includes homecare nurse, respiratory director and, most importantly, mother.
In June, Aiken's new company STOP!signs began producing a static-cling line of durable vinyl signs. The signs, which stick to a door or window, warn people entering the home of a respiratory patient that oxygen is in use. Aiken designed her product as an alternative to paper signs that wear out and need to be replaced often.
"I said, "There has got to be a better way," said Aiken, who works as respiratory director for Associated Healthcare. "When you go back to the house, the sign is not there. You give them another sign and four or six months later the same thing happens again because it is a paper product."
As part of its accreditation requirement, JCAHO mandates the warning signs. Associated is JCAHO accredited. Aiken's sign reads: "Stop. Oxygen in use. No smoking, sparks, open flames permitted. Warning. Compressed gas or oxygen cylinders present."
As a mother of three, Aiken's family had used static cling decals for holiday decorations over the years. One day it dawned on her: Static-cling vinyl sticks to smooth surfaces and is durable. Voila!
"I'm not Einstein; the technology has always been there," she said. "But I guess you had to be a mom, a nurse, a healthcare provider and director of respiratory for a JCAHO-accredited company to have these things all bounce around at the same time and put it together."
Aiken runs STOP!signs--the product is patent pending--out of her home and has no plans to quit her day job at Associated. The signs cost about 50 cents each, more or less, depending on volume.
Dennis Trach, Associated's compliance officer, said the company plans to replace its paper signs with Aiken's vinyl alternative.
"Until now, everyone in the industry has made do," he said. "They cost a little more but they last longer. We'll also give them to traveling patients who are taking cylinders so they can put them on their car windows."