As the owner of a medical equipment rental company or a representative for medical equipment manufacturers, you have a lot of choices to make about which products to feature as you grow your business. Yes, the standard items such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, and monitoring equipment can provide a stable base of income. But to develop your business further, it's important to look at emerging trends. By identifying the areas where your current and future customers will have the greatest needs, you can focus on becoming the expert supplier of the medical equipment that's in demand.
Joint revision surgery, including full joint replacement, is one of the projected areas of significant growth you'll find viable for immediate and future growth. According to research published in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, knee revision surgeries are expected to increase by over 600% in the period from 2005 to 2030. The projection for hip revisions in that same time span is an increase of over 130%. Opportunities for your business to sell or rent medical equipment needed in the post-surgical process exist:
- in hospitals,
- at rehabilitation facilities,
- and for in-home use during recovery.
To serve this expanding market, learn all you can about modern orthopedic surgery and physical therapy techniques. Simultaneously, network with the manufacturers and distributors of the medical equipment used in post-surgical recovery, including new developments on the horizon.
Continuous Passive Motion Machines
Following knee replacement surgery, a CPM machine gently raises and lowers the patient's knee. The equipment looks like a metal frame that rests on the surface of a bed. A pad at the center provides a comfortable resting place at the back of the knee. The motion does not require the patient to move any muscles, but it does provide sufficient movement to enhance cartilage healing. Use of the machine is tapered off and then ceased when the patient is able to bear weight on the leg and begin physical therapy to restore a full range of motion.
Standard and Rolling Walkers
After hip replacement surgery, the goal of the orthopedist and the physical therapist is to get the patient mobile as soon as possible. To accomplish this, a walker is needed to provide support. In the hospital, a simple 4-legged walker without any wheels is often the first choice because this type is easy to fold and store in limited space. When the patient is able to navigate beyond the confines of the hospital room and into the hallways, it's time to move on to a short-term rehab facility or home to continue the the recovery and therapy. It's at this point that many choose to rent or purchase a rolling walker. Depending on available finances and what the patient finds most comfortable, you may supply either a version with two wheels on the front legs, a 4-wheel walker, or a version that also has a seat and hand-brakes for convenient rest stops.
Commodes and Bathroom Equipment
In the hours immediately following surgery, hospitals provide a commode for bedside use until the patient is steady enough to navigate to the bathroom, where there is a high toilet and sturdy grab bars that help with seating and getting back up again. If the patient continues recovery in a rehab facility, similar bathroom facilities are typically available. But many patients continue their recovery at home with a family member as the caretaker. Standard household bathrooms are not equipped to accommodate the needs of someone who does not yet have strength or mobility following surgery. The equipment your business offers to provide safety and comfort may include elevated toilet seats and shower benches with sturdy arms for gripping and support.
As you research more about joint replacement surgeries and recovery, you're likely to find other products such as ice-water circulating machines to keep incision sites cool, a variety of walking aids, and accessories that make dressing and reaching easier.