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Also inside... RMS: Thriving after 40 years ISSUE 278 NOVEMBER 2021

Handicare’s customer focus

TRADE MAGAZINE

Onto a winner! Find out how a mobility showroom in Wiltshire is targeting young and active end users

Seating and cushion guides


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WELCOME

Inside..

From the editor Welcome!

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24

Features

Regulars

16 Trade Talk: Handicare 18 Retailer Spotlight: The Mobility Store 26 Supplier Spotlight: RMS 36 Trade Thoughts

04 News, deals and people 08 Retailers’ Choice: Seating and cushions 38 Opinion: Graham Ewart 40 Let’s Get it Clear 44 Buyers’ Guide: Seating and cushions

There’s no doubt that consumer behaviour has changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses have needed to embrace new technologies to reach customers and expectations have risen accordingly. One firm that is aiming to prioritise the customer experience is Handicare Accessibility. Turn to page 16 to find out how it is implementing innovative new changes to make processes smoother for its customers. Another company embracing new technologies is British manufacturer RMS. Turn to page 26 to read about the company’s new e-commerce platform which will enable its customers to build their own bespoke mobility products and purchase directly. Our focus is on seating and cushions this issue so don’t miss our selection of product recommendations from retailers (p8) and suppliers (p44). Keeping to the seating theme, Dr Barend ter Haar from BES Healthcare shares his advice on what makes a good positioning belt on page 40. This issue, THIIS chats to Willie McIvor (no relation!), Director of The Mobility Store in north-east Wiltshire (p18). The store recently unveiled a new extension to its store called Optimised Independence, which aims to target the younger, active end-user with its range of high-end products. And who better to cut the ribbon? Two Paralympians of course, fresh from the Tokyo 2020 games! THIIS is always interested to hear from retailers with their news, so whether it is opening a new store, celebrating an anniversary or a new service contract, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Editor

Stay up to date... TRADE MAGAZINE

Editor / Liane McIvor 07917 784929 / liane@thiis.co.uk Advertising / Joe Fahy 07384 258 372 / joe.fahy@bhtaengage.com Sub-editor / Sarah Sarsby sarah@thiis.co.uk

@wwwthiiscouk facebook.com/THIIS.Magazine linkedin.com/company/thiis-magazine THIIS is produced by BHTA Engage, Office 404, Tower Bridge Business Centre, 46-48 E Smithfield, Whitechapel, London E1W 1AW BHTA Engage Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any way without the written permission of the publisher. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher and although every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate, the publishers take no responsibility for errors or omissions.

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NEWS, DEALS & PEOPLE

News, deals & people

A round-up of the key trade stories for business leaders to digest

Platinum Stairlifts boost growth with two new appointments

Permobil appoints new head of R&D

in brief...

Wheelchair manufacturer Permobil Group has appointed Catharina Tunberg as Executive Vice President Research & Development where her mission will be to drive the next generation of advanced assistive solutions for people living with disabilities. Catharina will head up the global Group Research and Development function spearheading innovation, product development and cost position. Most recently, she was the Chief Technology Officer for the Global Solutions Division at ASSA ABLOY. She has also held various senior management positions at Ericsson.

NORTHUMBRIA WHEELCHAIR SHARING Two Northumbria hospitals are set to be the first in the UK to introduce an innovative solution to support patients who need wheelchairs. Digital wheelchair-sharing stations will be installed at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital in Cramlington and North Tyneside General Hospital, as part of a new partnership between Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Wheelshare. The wheelchairs will be available free to patients via a user-friendly automatic station, backed by a 24-7 helpline.

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Yorkshire-based Platinum Stairlifts is getting ready to meet the growing global demand for stairlifts with the appointment of two new members to its global sales team. Gareth Deegan (pictured bottom right), has joined as Head of Sales, and Fabrice Moisset (pictured right) as Territory Manager – France. Platinum’s Sales and Marketing Director, Mark McNulty, says, “We are delighted to have appointed Gareth as Head of Sales, and Fabrice as Territory Manager – France. “Both were the outstanding candidates throughout the recruitment process and are excellent additions to an already strong team.” Founded in 1996, the firm celebrates its 25-year anniversary this year. Its new 58,000 square foot manufacturing facility at Foundry Park, Keighley is set to open in Spring 2022.

MEDEQUIP AWARDED LEICESTERSHIRE CONTRACT Community equipment specialists Medequip has been awarded a five-year contract to provide an Integrated Community Equipment Loan Service (ICELS) across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland (LLR). The service, which commences in April 2022, will align closely with the future development of health and social care services across the region. Loan equipment supplied by Medequip will facilitate independent living, palliative care, rehabilitation and end of life care. The service will provide support for carers, working with clinicians and other professionals to enable early discharge from hospitals.


Handicare’s curved stairlift goes up a gear A new two-way powered swivel seat option on Handicare’s flagship curved stairlift system, the Freecurve, is helping to make a life-changing home adaptations even more accessible to customers. Dealers already trained and experienced in fitting the Freecurve will immediately benefit from the launch of the two-way powered swivel feature as it requires no additional training and is easy to install. Prospective customers with narrow staircases and tricky layouts in halls and landings will now be able to ride in comfort with the Freecurve in a swivelled position and benefit from the enhanced safety of a 90-degree swivel at the top of the stairs, with no rail overrun required. Handicare UK Sales & Marketing Director Paul Stockdill said: “The introduction of a two-way powered swivel on our single rail curved stairlift makes our portfolio one of the most comprehensive currently in the market.”

Rollz’ Motion Rhythm rollator is right on cue Mobility equipment manufacturer Rollz International has revealed the results of a recent study which showed that auditory, visual and tactile cues froma rollator can help break the freeze of gait seen in people living with Parkinson’s. The study, conducted by the research group Assistive Technology for Mobility and Sports and Expert Center Human Movement Technology from The Hague University of Applied Sciences, found that 80 per cent of the Parkinson’s patients who participated in the research benefited from using Rollz’s Parkinson’s rollator with different cues. The Rollz Motion Rhythm features a rhythmic sound signal, vibrating handles and a laser line projected on the ground. The rollator is linked to a mobile app, with which the cues can be adjusted and personalised. Around 90 per cent of the participants in the study indicated that they benefited from the sound signal and almost half experienced a positive effect from the vibrations.

CARE QUALITY COMMISSION PUBLISHES REPORT The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published its annual assessment of the state of health and social care in England for 2020/2021. Unless “real collaboration across health and social care” are achieved, the report warns, there is a risk of a “tsunami of unmet need”. The CQC also warned that in the approach to winter, the workforce is drained in terms of resilience and capacity, which has the potential to impact on the quality of care they deliver. It said: “Increased stability in social care is the key to unlocking not only improved access and quality of care for the people who use it, but to easing pressure on the NHS.”

MOBILITY EQUIPMENT TRAINING Plymouth-based Mobility Equipment Training Centre has secured two new contracts to train engineers to install, service and repair mobility equipment. The trainerapproved centre, which opened in 2018, has secured a contract with the Career Transition Partnership, a Ministry of Defence partnership which aims to help ex-service people find a new civilian career or job. It has also been named a preferred supplier for the Department for Work and Pensions, who fund suitable candidates to attend its courses through Jobcentre Plus, which helps working age people find employment in the UK.

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NEWS, DEALS & PEOPLE

Award triumph for People First Mobility Skegness-based retailer People First Mobility has been named one of the best rural businesses in the UK after winning a regional Rural Business Award. Karen Sheppard, Director of People First Mobility (pictured below with her award), was named winner of the Triumph over Adversity Award at the Midlands regional finals of the Rural Business Awards, which took place virtually this year. Following the achievement of being shortlisted and then winning at the regional final, People First Mobility will now go on to represent the Midlands at the national final of the Rural Business Awards in February 2022.

Etac acquires Ki Mobility Scandinavian mobility manufacturer Etac has completed the acquisition of paediatric wheelchair manufacturer Ki Mobility. Etac, which has its head office in Sweden, is a developer and provider of ergonomic assistive devices and patient handling equipment, while North American-based Ki Mobility specialises in complex manual rehab wheelchairs and seating. The acquisition makes it possible for Etac to provide a significantly broader product offering of complex manual rehab wheelchairs, seating and pediatric assistive devices.

New innovation for accessible air travel

Motion Healthcare appoints Business Development Manager Mobility equipment supplier Motion Healthcare has appointed Don Walters to the role of Business Development Manager. Don, who has 13 years of experience running a mobility company in South Africa, commented: “I am excited to join the fast-growing Motion Healthcare team. “I look forward to helping build stronger relationships with existing partners and creating new synergy in new areas. I’m really looking forward to meeting each one of you in due course.”

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PriestmanGoode has unveiled Air 4 All, a system which allows wheelchair users to travel in their own wheelchair onboard a commercial aircraft without reducing the seat count for airlines. The firm partnered with SWS Certification and Flying Disabled to create the design. According to the consortium, Air 4 All works in a similar way to Isofix/ Latch standards in passenger cars. Both the airline seats and wheelchairs facilitate an installation and attachment system, enabling them to be securely installed in the aircraft cabin. The system is designed to convert front row seats and install a wheelchair guidance and locking system to the aircraft, allowing for up to two wheelchairs per row to travel on a single flight. The consortium has stated that it is working with Sunrise Medical to establish those powerchairs that would be fit to fly, as well as to retrofit and create new standards for powered wheelchairs. A prototype of the patented system is expected in December 2021.


We are committed to building successful partnerships in a global business, putting our partners at the heart of every business decision that we make.

seamless movement

Learn more at accessbdd.com www.thiis.co.uk / 7


Seating and cushion products Retailer’s Choice: Dimensional Gel Pressure Relief Pads from Gel Ovations

Retailer’s Choice: Microcell Companion from Medismart “The myriad of choice in the seating and cushion products can be bewildering. Many claims are made about the products that are often not backed up with clinical evidence, so it does seem to be a bit of a lottery. However, we came across a well engineered product that moves the goalposts on ‘in chair’ pressure relief. “The Medismart Microcell Companion is essentially a pressure relieving alternating mattress for a riser recliner chair. It has a depth of just 20mm, which means it does not significantly alter the seat to arm height on a chair and has an innovative cell arrangement that does not require air hoses to run along one side creating a pressure point risk. “It effectively changes a riser recliner chair into a therapy support surface. We all know that when transfers are difficult our clients will opt to stay in their chair overnight. Well now they can, without risk of developing pressure ulcers. “Available in three lengths and various widths it can suit many different applications. Even chairs in kidney dialysis centres can see a remarkable improvement in Alastair Gibbs patient wellbeing during the hours Managing spent reclined in a chair.” Director of TPG DisableAids www.tpg-disableaids.co.uk

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“We often recommend this high pressure relief product as it offers outstanding results. “Manufactured from medical grade silicone polymer, the Dimensional Gel Pads are designed to mimic the softness and physical characteristics of human fat tissue and provide resistance to pressure ulcer development. “The pads possess a range of anti-pressure ulcer features. These include prevention of shear and friction, heat build-up and trapped moisture, which would otherwise patients susceptible to skin breakdown. “We use these pads in a wide range of situations to prevent and treat pressure sores. The pads will contour to any surface which make them ideal for use on products such as rise & recliner chairs, wheelchairs and bathroom equipment. “The fact the pads are only half an inch thick makes them ideal for use on rise & recliner chairs where the application of a thick pressure cushion can adversely affect the seat height of patients and their balance and posture. “The feedback and results we have received from both occupational Jim Mabbutt therapists and the end users has been Senior Mobility extremely positive.” Consultant at Pearce Brothers Mobility www.pearcebrosmobility.co.uk


A First for Drive DeVilbiss, the New…

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Remote fold operation

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Front wheel suspension

Following the huge success of our manual folding powerchair, we are delighted to launch our first AUTOFOLD Powerchair. This excellent new addition to the range features a remote control function that enables the chair to be easily folded or unfolded in seconds at the simple touch of a button.

Call NOW for price, more information or to request an InStore demonstration! Karen Clarke 01274 475 118 karen.clarke@ddhuk.co.uk

Sandra Conlan 01274 475 121 sandra.conlan@ddhuk.co.uk

Nial Hutton 01274 475 116 nial.hutton@ddhuk.co.uk

sales@drivedevilbiss.co.uk www.drivedevilbiss.co.uk Information current as of 10_21


RETAILERS’ CHOICE

Retailer’s Choice: Waffle Cushion from Ehob “The Ehob waffle cushion range is one of our favourite pressure care ranges. The cushions are portable, affordable and provide a nonpowered solution to pressure care. “The range allows redistribution of the air within the cushion to provide support and comfort. They are clinically proven to redistribute pressure to bony prominences. “The holes are positioned to allow air to circulate for both temperature and moisture control. The actual material incorporates an antimicrobial agent which reduces the risk of infection and it’s easy to clean, too. “This revolutionary range of pressure care cushions comes in several different sizes, with mattress overlays and full length cushions suitable for rise and recliner chairs available, too. “The cushions are available either pre-inflated (so no need for a separate pump), or they come un-inflated and with a pump.

“Straps are also available which are ideal when the cushion is not being moved from seat to seat, or chair to chair, as the cushion can be strapped to the seat, reducing the movement of the cushion. “Some of our customers have remarked that it’s like “sitting on air” when using the cushion and, when seated for long periods, that’s the best way to feel!”

www.abilitysuperstore.com

Julia Phipps Owner of Ability Superstore

Retailer’s Choice: Recliners Demo Rise and Recline Chair “This multi-faceted rise and recline demo chair offers many seating, comfort, movement and postural configurations from one chair. It is metamorphic, as the shape and style is instantly and easily changeable. It offers four back styles, three seat grades, two widths options, three arm styles, coupled to single motor, dual motor and tilt-in-space options, which further increase the overall permutations of options. “One chair has never offered so much value to both retailer and customer whilst rationalising the chairs on the shop floor which can be expensive and can often clutter. “The customer experience has been so positive to this and invariably

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allows the consultant to find exactly the right configuration and close the sale, succinctly and professionally. We would firmly recommend this chair as part of a strategic approach to domestic seating within a showroom environment.” www.mobiltyscotlandltd.co.uk

Billy Finnie Operations Manager of Mobility Scotland



RETAILERS’ CHOICE

Retailer’s Choice: Sedeo Pro Seating from Sunrise Medical “When it come to seating, there are lots of reasons why you would chose one seating system over another but I have always been taught that sometimes it is best to stick with what the client already has, or duplicate it like for like. This should be only the case if it’s already working for the client. “One seating system that has been revolutionary for our industry is the Sedeo Pro. This was first introduced by Handicare on its powerchair range. So it’s not surprising when Sunrise Medical bought the brand, it implemented it to all of its Q range of powerchairs. “The Sedeo Seating System is a fantastic solution for 90 per cent of customers and is also a firm favourite of mine. The Sedeo Deep Contour Flexible Backrest with adjustable straps is a fantastic product within the sedeo range. “This gives customers a less intrusive lateral support without looking too clinical and the adjustable straps follow the client’s vertebrae and give additional support where needed. The fabric is also a four-way stretch, which is highly breathable. Its patten also makes the chairs look more modern and smart.” www.lifestyleandmobility.co.uk

Darren Macey Business Development Manager of Lifestyle and Mobility

Retailer’s Choice: Onyx cushions from Ultimate Healthcare “When providing pressure relief, it is vital to meet patients’ exact needs in terms of both pressure reduction and comfort. The range of Onyx cushions are the ideal set of cushions to ensure this comfort is always met. “The Onyx cushions range has three different levels of pressure relief, from ‘1’ being low, to ‘3’ at high. All three levels work by utilising the cushions foam to distribute the user's body weight evenly so that no area experiences an especially high degree of pressure. “The weight distribution qualities of this cushion make it suitable for users who are at risk of developing pressure sores and also for those who spend long periods of time seated in a chair or wheelchair. “The cushions’ two-way stretch, waterproof and breathable cover is perfect for maintaining good hygiene, and also reduces the possibility of fluid ingress, therefore aiding infection control protocols. “We recommend the Onyx cushions to a lot of customers and occupational therapists in store, and receive lots of great feedback from them too.” www.ableworld.co.uk

Ellie Barnett Online Marketing Manager at Ableworld

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A Apex

ALUMA-LITE

Suspension

Airline Safe Battery

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RETAILERS’ CHOICE

Retailer’s Choice: Portable Smart Rising Seat from SitnStand “From the moment I saw SitnStand, I realised how much difference it would soon be making to the lives of those who have difficulty getting out of a chair. And judging by our customer feedback, I was right. “SitnStand is a portable rising seat that has made an impact on many who have visited Fortuna searching for seating for elderly or disabled relatives. Everyone likes the fact that it not only solves the problem of transferring from sitting to standing with ease, and vice versa, but that it’s also portable and weighs only 3kg (with its own zip-up case), so it can be used outside of the users home – a huge plus when it comes to visiting family, friends, or eating out. “SitnStand can be used on all types of seating, and works via a handset that inflates the seat pad, gently easing the user into an upright position. It helps maintain independence, and takes away the

worry and struggles of trying to stand without help, which can lead to falls and subsequent injuries. “The four levels of inflation ensure the process from sitting to standing is gradual. And to sit back down, the user presses the handset and each level deflates one by one and the user will be gently lowered into their chair. “Many of our customers say that before they discovered this product they didn’t like going out of a chair for fear of getting stuck and the embarrassment of being lifted out. Now – with their trusty SitnStand – they can go wherever they want, and have a new lease of life!” www.fortunamobility.com

Elaine Ferguson Mobility Services Manager of FortunaBambach

Retailer’s Choice: Perching Stool from Days Healthcare

Karen Sheppard Managing Director of People First Mobility

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“This perching stool from Days Healthcare is lowered at the front to give a slight incline for easier transfer when raising and lowering from a seating position. It allows the person to “perch” rather than fully sit down. “The stool is available in a range of styles, with or without armrests and backs and ideal for those who have just had a hip replacement as it makes the pelvis slightly tilted forward facilitating a more neutral position, or for those who have limited mobility. “Height adjustable, it can be used as a bathing chair in the shower and also as a stool for the kitchen to prepare food or carry out household tasks with ease, and without the need to stand. “In the kitchen it enables the user

to sit closer to the worktop or basin than when seated in a normal chair. The user can gently sit back slightly and reach the counter and be at an angle to help ease discomfort. “This particular chair is made from powder-coated steel with a grey vinyl seat which provides a strong, durable, and safe chair. “It comes with non-marking slipresistant rubber tips to provide safety when using it. “Further studies into the perching chairs are suggesting they are used more in the office environment now, and in other jobs as they have found that standing with no support puts the most stress on the back, whereas perching eases that stress.” www.peoplefirstmobility.co.uk


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TRADE TALK

Trade talk Q&A with David Harrison, Global Customer Experience Director at Handicare Accessibility

Stairlift supplier Handicare Accessibility which earlier this year became part of the North American headquartered Savaria Corporation, has always been committed to improving service standards for its trade partners. The firm made a clear statement of intent to make improving customer satisfaction a strategic focus following the appointment of David Harrison to the role of Global Customer Experience Director earlier this year. THIIS speaks to David about how the firm has been prioritising the customer experience…

WHY PRIORITISE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE NOW? “There is a greater focus on how companies can find new ways to deliver excellent service for consumers whose behaviours have changed as a result of the pandemic. Expectations have risen, and businesses across the board have accelerated investment in new technologies to improve customer experience. “Handicare has global growth ambitions, especially since our acquisition by North Americanheadquartered Savaria Corporation earlier this year, and we know customer experience excellence has to be at the heart of that growth. If we increase efficiency by getting it right first time, build customer loyalty, and manage our service proactively, we will achieve our goals.” WHAT IS YOUR VISION FOR HANDICARE’S CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE? “I want to make our customer journey as effortless as possible, aligned across all our sales channels and markets. In practice this means digitalisation will play an integral role in the transformation of our internal processes, which will have a huge impact on our ability to efficiently process orders and deliver on our promises to partners and ultimately end-users. Our goal is to make it easier for everyone to do business with us.”

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HOW IS HANDICARE MAKING THOSE CHANGES? “Change to our service performance starts with our employee experience. We’ve recently completed an engagement survey to listen to feedback from our teams, and we’re implementing changes to make processes smoother for them, which will in turn make life easier for our customers and partners when they contact us.

“We know how life-changing our products are for end-users, and how important it is to get things right for them”


Partner Program

“We’ve also increased training and progression opportunities for our associates so they remain motivated and equipped to deliver a world-class service. “We know how life-changing our products are for end-users, and how important it is to get things right for them – keeping their needs and pain points front of mind for

everyone in our business is our main priority. How we treat our partners directly affects our end-users, so this is of course equally important. Getting it right for our trade partners ultimately helps them to get it right for Handicare stairlift users too. “In November we’re hosting our first global marketing and service conference, Engage. The aim is to inspire our people to recognise how each of them contributes to the customer journey. It’s only through strategic collaboration between marketing and service teams that we can fully optimise the customer experience at every step, helping us to grow our business, and our partners’ businesses too.” HANDICARE INTRODUCED A NEW FIVE-TIER PARTNER PROGRAMME EARLIER THIS YEAR. HOW HAS THIS BEEN GOING? “We listened to what our partners wanted, and designed our new programme around what they value most. Rolling out the Programme worldwide this year marked the start of a whole new approach to the way we grow collectively as a network. The response has been fantastic. We are uniting behind our shared

mission of making everyday life easier for our end-users. “We’ve been blown away by the feedback. Partners appreciate the clearer structure and growth incentives as well as the opportunity to build a consultative relationship with their supplier. We’re helping them to grow their businesses with product and technical training as well as commercial insights, and they’re seeing real results from these added benefits already.” WHAT CAN DEALERS EXPECT IN 2022 FROM HANDICARE? “During the pandemic, listening to the voice of customers became even more important to every business, especially in our sector, where endusers continue to be one of the groups most affected. We have worked hard to make sure we understand how the crisis affects them, and have always done everything we can to support them and our partners. “Customer expectations have reached a new level and going forward we need to continue to meet and exceed those expectations. Partners and their customers’ attitudes and behaviour have changed, and it’s essential that we change with them to continue to succeed.” www.handicare-stairlifts.co.uk

?

Did you know? Service standards are often cited as the driver when it comes to the relationship between retailers and their suppliers. According to a recent report from Salesforce, 84 per cent of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services, and 84 per cent of B2B buyers are more likely to buy from companies that understand their goals.

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RETAILER SPOTLIGHT

Paralympian Chris Skelley and wheelchair tennis pro Louise Hunt with staff at the opening

The Mobility Store: Off to a winning start The Mobility Store in Wroughton recently celebrated the completion of its new Optimised Independence showroom. As the latest addition to the shop, Optimised Independence is geared towards younger active users with a specialist range of power-assisted high-tech scooters and chairs that suit people who have had life-altering changes. Willie McIvor, Director of The Mobility Store, says that a targeted social media campaign has been helping to target younger customers, while promotional flyers have been distributed to sports clubs, health centres and rehabilitation centres. When customers arrive at Optimised Independence they can find a showroom with a youthful

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feel to it, with fun features, such as a basketball net to try with a basketball wheelchair. Willie adds: “There is a wide range of active mobility products for younger users to try and test drive, some of which interface with mobile devices.” The high-end products on offer here can be measured and tailored to best meet people’s needs and would be difficult to find anywhere else within 40 miles of Swindon. The rest of the shop, located near a village church, is geared more towards the elderly market and offers support for foot care and hearing impairments as well as mobility issues. Its range of products includes both new and used mobility scooters,

The Mobility Store recently finished a big revamp of its new showroom in Wroughton, north-east Wiltshire – a new extension called Optimised Independence – and two local Paralympians were only too pleased to pay a visit and cut the ribbon…

power chairs, rise & recline chairs, fireside chairs, wheelchairs, walking aids, bathroom aids and daily living aids, as well as servicing and repairs. The Optimised Independence showroom offers The Mobility Store so much more scope in catering to a different set of customers, as Willie McIvor, Director of The Mobility Store, explains. “We have always promoted the high-end power chairs,


Left to right: Louise Hunt, Willie McIvor (Director of The Mobility Store) and Chris Skelley

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RETAILER SPOTLIGHT

The Mobility Store and Optimised Independence showroom in Wroughton

mainly through Motability, but now we are able to have a complete range of power chairs and active user wheelchairs from manufacturers such as Invacare, Ki Mobility and Sunrise Medical, along with power addons from Rehasense and a range of Faraday Sports wheelchairs.” STORE REFURBISHMENT Aside from the store in Wroughton, The Mobility Store has stores in Bourton-on-the Water in The Cotswolds, which opened in 2008, a store in Marlborough, which opened in 2011, and a store in Swindon, which opened in 2016. The Mobility Store in Wroughton was established in 2010, but it only moved to its Devizes Road premises in March this year. When the lease at the last store was up for renewal, and with its landlord dithering over a new one, Willie McIvor and co-owner Nick Jephson decided to sieze the opportunity to scour the area for a bigger store. Fortunately, they found an ideal space which was close to derelict that would be ideal for renovating. The larger premises is three times the size of the former store, and as Willie highlights, it gave them scope to expand, enabling them to have

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The Mobility Store boasts a more traditional range of scooters

totally bespoke facilities. Around £150,000 was spent in transforming an old forge, sawmill and carpentry shop into the spacious retail outlet. As Willie explains: “We had a great team of builders, and from start to finish, it took approximately six months with the work being completed in three stages. The final stage was the new Optimised Independence division, which has been designed to appeal to a wider age range including paediatrics and those requiring dynamic performance products.”

GRAND OPENING When the store was ready, it welcomed gold medal-winning Paralympian Chris Skelley and wheelchair tennis pro Louise Hunt to cut the ribbon for the new area and chat with staff about their Tokyo 2020 experiences. Louise commented that she found it really exciting to have a local shop nearby that had “everything you could think of”. Willie noted that Louise was attracted to the optimised equipment, such as the high-end wheelchairs



RETAILER SPOTLIGHT

The spacious Optimised Independence showroom is ideal for customers wanting to get hands-on with products

and add-ons, while Chris liked the products for partially-sighted people. Willie said: “Both Chris Skelley and Louise Hunt are local, so it was great to welcome them to the store and for us to gain hands-on knowledge from them, particularly with regard to the active user wheelchairs. “We were also able to introduce them to the E-Motion power wheels by Invacare and showed them some of the useful items available to help with day-to-day living.” As Willie explains, the great thing about the E-Motion wheels is that they are always there as the user is not having to click them on to the front of the chair. “Touching the wheel rims engages a switch, which then activates a motor in the wheel to power the chair forward.” Other products include a tri-bike add-on for the front of the wheelchair to make it easier to steer and speed up, while one chair has adjustable height to help people reach surfaces higher than the seat. WORKING THROUGH A PANDEMIC Along with most other mobility stores, Willie admits that it was a challenging 19 months with the COVID-19 pandemic, but thanks to the store having good supplier

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Karen Munn, mobility sales advisor, with Chris Skelley

relationships it was able to offer its usual wide range of furniture, mobility scooters and other stock items to customers. While The Mobility Store had to shut its shop doors for a few months during the pandemic it continued to serve the essential needs of customers throughout lockdown via direct delivery. Says Willie: “The business is well aware of its importance to customers with mobility and associated daily living issues, so it was important that staff continued to supply customers throughout the lockdown.” All four stores were reopened

for walk-in customers in May 2020 while endeavouring to maintain every precaution necessary to keep customers and staff safe, with

“There is a wide range of active mobility products for younger users to try and test drive, some of which interface with mobile devices”


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RETAILER SPOTLIGHT

Knowledgeable staff at The Mobility Store are trained to advise on rise and recliner chairs

measures such as social distancing, hygiene and cleanliness. The business has been thriving since the easing of lockdown, Willie says, with an increase in footfall and sales figures. The Wroughton store’s sales figures have been up by 25 per cent. NEW WEBSITE There are not any plans to add any more stores, and instead Willie says that the plan is to continue to develop The Mobility Store’s website going forward. Its online store was launched last year but its introduction was not in response to the pandemic, he underlines. “We wanted to show products to a wider range of people. We had the new website nearly up and running just as the pandemic struck in March 2020.” From a retail point of view, Willie says that The Mobility Store still very

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much wants people to come into its shops, but the website enables it to sell and send out smaller items anywhere in the UK. Most larger items, such as a mobility scooters and powerchairs, are prescriptive, so customers on the website are directed to request an instore or at-home consultation. “We need to be at a close enough distance with a customer that we can supply and make sure the products are suitable for them,” explains Willie. In fact, he says, The Mobility Store gets quite a lot of business in the shop from customers who come in because they have bought the wrong product online from other sellers. Willie adds: “For instance, you get customers who have ordered a recliner chair when what they really needed was a rise & recline chair, so it’s simple things like that!” Website aside, The Mobility Store’s main focus is on Optimised Independence and welcoming

active wheelchair users in-store for demonstrations of the latest carbon fibre wheelchair, E-Motion wheels and so on. The feedback he has received so far to Optimised Independence has been very positive. “We hope to become a regional hub and the go-to store for the active wheelchair and powerchair user wanting to pop in and try out new products in a relaxed, friendly environment with our knowledgeable, trained staff.” thehearingandmobilitystore.co.uk

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SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT

RMS: Rolling with the punches Set to launch a new e-commerce platform and with some exciting product launches waiting in the wings, RMS has plenty going on at the moment. THIIS chats to Alan Wombell, Company Director at RMS, about the firm’s proud history and what is coming next for the firm…

The Virtus Seating System has done extremely well since its launch in 2020

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SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT

RMS developed the Buddy Classroom chair for young users requiring mild postural support

Mobility equipment supplier RMS (Rehabilitation Manufacturing Services) has been supplying the NHS, schools and child development centres for 40 years. Alan, who is Company Director, started at RMS in 1994 and was previously employed as a rehabilitation engineering manager at Kings Healthcare. “At the time I was only the ninth employee to join RMS, which seems very small now that we are up to over 45 members of staff. I was bought into the company to work alongside Roger Thompson, the previous owner of the company, as a seating engineer and to identify key strategic solutions to expand the business. “I’d like to think I was very successful in this pursuit before finally buying the company alongside Wayne Cotter and Derek Bryant in 2005.” One of the projects Alan says that he was most proud of at RMS was being part of the team that developed

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the Gillingham Tilt Wheelchair in the late Nineties. “It was the first fully customisable system developed with the individual needs of the user in mind. This wheelchair went on to be supplied throughout the UK, and was the initial building block that led to RMS becoming an established supplier into NHS Wheelchair Services.” E-COMMERCE PLATFORM RMS are about to launch a new e-commerce platform, which provides customers with the tools they need to purchase products directly, build their own bespoke mobility products, and view a comprehensive archive of technical data and drawings. Explaining the idea behind it, Alan says: “We wanted to create an easier route to market for our products. We know we are very good at what we do, we just sometimes haven’t made that purchasing journey as easy as we

could have done for our customers. “We manufacture a lot of products, by their very nature highly customisable, which can lead to an overwhelming amount of options. We are hoping new tools like our Interactive Product Builder will be able to solve those issues and make it easier for our users to place orders.” RMS has also accelerated its

“We manufacture a lot of products, by their very nature highly customisable... We are hoping new tools like our Interactive Product Builder will be able to solve those issues”


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SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT

A bird’s eye view of RMS’ manufacturing facility in Sittingbourne

offering of informative webinars since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Alan adds: “RMS used to do a lot of awareness days before the world changed, centred around the clinical benefits and the best ways to use our products. “Since the pandemic, we have learned to adapt and take these sessions digital to make sure the therapists we work with have access to as much clinical information as we possibly can.” Talking of the pandemic, Alan admits that having hard-working staff in key positions within its sales, marketing and technical departments has meant that the firm has been able to roll with the punches of the pandemic and come out stronger on the other side. Shipping delays haven’t really impacted the firm either, he says, as RMS have always invested heavily in stock so that it has a surplus of materials to fall back on if supply chains become disrupted. “Coupled with the fact that as a manufacturer we can then produce most parts – or any replacements for parts we can’t get hold of – at our factory in the UK means we have been able to minimise the impacts of global issues that have plagued other companies,” explains Alan.

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A harness being made in the in-house upholstery department

BESTSELLING PRODUCTS Alan admits that RMS has always done really well with its accessories range, especially its belts and harnesses. He adds: “We have our own inhouse upholstery department that makes every pelvic belt, dynamic harness or chest strap by hand. These products are then so well made we often get phone calls from customers asking to replace a pelvic belt they bought over a decade ago! “More recently, we have had great success in this area with our clamp on swing-away laterals, flip down pommels and stump boards.”

Since its launch at the start of 2020, the Virtus Seating System has done extremely well, he says. “This seating unit bridges the gap between the wheelchair service and school markets, with one seat unit being able to be interfaced onto a wheelchair or hi-lo base. This flexibility and uniqueness has allowed us to let the product flow into a wide range of environments.” The key to RMS’ export success with its products, particularly internationally over the last few years, has been down to the company building successful relationships with suppliers, explains Alan.



SUPPLIER SPOTLIGHT

The My-Lyte Discovery and Zing Portable, two examples of RMS’ new early intervention products.

“Over the years we have moved naturally from seating to buggies, then into walkers and standing frames. We have been able to do this by finding the absolute best products – wherever they come from in the world – and by forging strong and enduring business links with those manufacturers.” TARGETING SMALLER RETAILERS As part of its newly-developed digital platform, RMS is keen to open its business up to smaller mobility retailers, explains Alan. “We want to give this very key sector within the industry the ability to come directly to the manufacturer and place one-off or small batch orders at competitive prices. It’s not just taken a new website to realise this goal. “We have also implemented new systems across the business including accounting, stock management, and workflow to allow this to happen.” RMS invests heavily in R&D, and while Alan admits he cannot share any specifics, he says that the firm is coming up with some clever and “never before seen” designs for new products.

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“As a teaser and example of one innovation, we are currently in the process of reviewing our headrests and the way in which we manufacture certain components to make them easier for carers and therapists to use.” The firm is doing a lot of work at the moment based around the benefits of early intervention, which it hopes to develop on in the future. Alan says: “This means we have developed and worked with companies to create products that can help users start therapy from as young as 18 months old. “This includes an exclusive global contract to distribute the wellestablished Spex Discovery seat unit on our newly developed My-Lyte buggy frame; the development of our Buddy Classroom chair that has a seat size as tiny as 190 x 245mm (about the same size as your hand spread out); and another exclusivity deal to supply the new Easystand Zing Portable in the UK, a fully foldable tilting standing frame that can fit in the boot of most hatchbacks!” The next year for RMS, Alan says,

will be about solidifying its position in the market. “Lockdowns gave us a lot of time to develop new products and solutions, now it is about allowing those products to bed in and filter through the market. “We are also investing in talented long-term staff and apprentices. Our goal at RMS has always been about creating products that are perfect for the end user and improve their quality of life – now we are instilling that core value into the next generation of staff here at RMS.” www.rms-rehab.co.uk

“We have our own in-house upholstery department that makes every pelvic belt, dynamic harness or chest strap by hand”


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Trade Thoughts Should suppliers sell their products to retailers who haven’t had product training? How important is it to manufacturers that retailers in the mobility and access trade are fully trained in the use of its products? Does it depend on the type of product it is? THIIS asked some industry insiders to discuss their thoughts on the issue…

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Graham Collyer

Paul Stockdill

When selling assistive technology and healthcare products, it is vital that the end user is provided with sufficient information to be able to use the item safely whilst deriving the intended benefit from it. Manufacturers/suppliers should ensure that retailers have had sufficient product training to help customers select a suitable product and use it appropriately. “Most healthcare products are covered by medical device legislation, which is in a state of transition following Brexit. European legislation now incorporates a specific requirement in the instructions for use that the device user and/or other persons will be guided to special training or “particular” qualifications (The MDR Medical Devices Regulations, EU2017/745 Annex I Chapter III Clause 23.4(j)). Many products have no such requirements, but where they do, it is imperative that retailers have been appropriately trained by the manufacturer/supplier. “Most manufacturers/suppliers of assistive technology and healthcare products, and many retailers, are members of the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) and are therefore bound by its Code of Practice. The BHTA Code of Practice states in Clause 7.1, Representation at Point of Sale: “Staff must have the appropriate product knowledge to advise and assist purchasers.” “In conclusion, for commercial, ethical and legal reasons, Manufacturers/suppliers should ensure that retailers have had appropriate product training, and by implication, should not sell to retailers who have not.

Product training comes down to safety. Keeping stairlift users safe is paramount, as is maintaining industry standards across the sector. As a manufacturer, Handicare sees it as our responsibility to uphold these standards by providing rigorous and ongoing product training for our partners. “The Handicare Academy is made available for free under our Partner Programme, covering all aspects of Handicare products. Our dedicated facility in Kingswinford has eight training stations so that dealers can gain hands-on experience of installing each type of stairlift. During the pandemic we continued to provide virtual training through our Handicare Live online sessions. “We require our partners to commit to this training before allowing them to install our products. There are dealers who are willing to install accessibility products without training or specialist knowledge, and we see it as our ethical responsibility to take steps to prevent these dangerous practices within the industry. It also makes good business sense – dealers need to instil trust in their customers. “Along with offering our own training, as a member of the BHTA we contribute to the meetings to improve standards across the sector. It’s only by working together and taking a joined-up approach that we can ensure safety standards are met. “We also offer a technical support service to our dealers, as well as online troubleshooting tools, to offer the best possible product knowledge to our dealers, and a safe and reliable solution for our customers.

Executive Chairman, Sumed International (UK)

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UK Sales and Marketing Director, Handicare

handicare-stairlifts.co.uk


Darren Legg

Rick Bennett

Lee French

At DIETZ Rehab we certainly believe that all of our approved dealers have to have training as part of their experience and journey with us and have systems in place to ensure this is beneficial for anyone selling, servicing and using our products. “Why wouldn’t we want to train and develop our approved dealers? By training our approved dealers we see that they engage much more with our business and products, are certainly less frustrated and that leads to consistent repeat business. “We help them to become more knowledgeable and that means our products become more and more valuable to them. It also means they are empowered with the knowledge to ensure that they are offering the correct options for how the user of the product needs it to perform. “However, our training isn’t just limited to their sales teams. We very much also have a focus on their service teams as well to ensure that users of our chairs are taken care of completely from an ongoing service and maintenance point of view for the lifetime of the product and that our approved dealers have the knowledge to repair and maintain as well as know where to access all the information they need. “In short, we see training as the platform for ensuring as positive an experience as possible for both our approved dealers and the users of our products. “When we make more of our approved dealers and customers feel important, safe and happy we see more returning customers and the growth that comes with it.

At Access BDD we pride ourselves in providing high-quality product training to our partners. We believe in long-term partnerships, and we offer product, survey, installation and maintenance training free of charge, including refresher training whenever our partners need it. “There are a number of reasons why we advocate comprehensive training on the installation and maintenance of our products. A fullytrained surveyor or installer is much less likely to have to return to site to rectify faults, so avoiding extra costs in man-hours, travel time and parts. “A lift well suited to the home or building can be a lead-generator in itself; we know of many cases where our partners gained further sales based on customer recommendations. The products sold by our partners not only reflects on the company that installs them, but they are ambassadors for us as a manufacturer. “That said, the primary motivation for our policy of working together with trained partners relates directly to the safety of the people who use our products. A stairlift or platform lift installed and serviced correctly should be completely safe for the user, and as a manufacturer we feel duty bound to do everything in our power to ensure that our partners are fully on board with this. “Health and safety is a core principle that runs through Access BDD in every team, every department and at every level of the business. We want to work with partners who have that same mindset and put the safety of the customer first.

I think it is vital that dealers receive product training from manufacturers prior to engaging with customers, especially when selling products that require an assessment of the customer to ensure it is the correct solution. “Many of the customers our dealers work with are vulnerable so it is imperative that the member of staff talking to the customer has a detailed understanding of their requirements and what equipment may or may not be suitable depending on their condition and level of mobility. “To support our dealers, we offer product training courses either at their premises or at our headquarters to ensure they have a comprehensive knowledge of our product range and how to asses a customer to ensure the product they select meets their needs. “As part of our ongoing commitment to our UK dealer network, we recently launched the Rehasense Academy with the aim of providing our dealers with training and instructional videos covering the full range of Rehasense products. “The videos will cover all aspects from unpacking and assembling a product through to setting it up for the user, along with servicing advice and all the content will be available on a Rehasense YouTube channel. “Our dealers are integral to our business and we believe in supporting them as much as possible. With the launch of the Rehasense Academy, we hope dealers will have a central source of information for any questions they or their customers might have and they will also be able to share this content with the customer.

Managing Director, DIETZ Rehab

dietz-rehab.com

Regional Sales Manager – Northern Europe, Access BDD

www.accessbdd.com

Managing Director, Rehasense UK

www.rehasense.co.uk

www.thiis.co.uk / 37


OPINION

Opinion: Signed, sealed, but not delivered It’s not just policies, but innovation which will ultimately transform healthcare, writes Graham Ewart There are few sectors which have avoided the staffing problems currently overwhelming the UK. From nursing, to hospitality, to HGV and logistics, all markets are facing dreadful shortages, which seem to have arrived like tsunamis and appear disconcertingly difficult to resolve. Of course, there are arguments both ways in terms of how prepared we were as a country for such dilemmas. Some will argue the issues have sprung up suddenly and without notice, while others will say we were forewarned of the problems years ago during the referendum debates (although it should be noted that all of today’s economic problems have been exacerbated by other factors, not just Brexit). At DHG, we have spoken widely on the struggles we are having as a result of the logistics and haulage shortages. We have been structured and prepared enough as a business to ensure our supplies have not been dramatically affected, however our issues are being felt in terms of delivery to our care

providers. We are acutely aware of the impact these shortages are having, not just on us, but across the healthcare sector, and it’s frustrating to know our products are ready to go, but are not being delivered to those who need them most. STAFF SHORTAGES Another area we have been monitoring closely are the staff shortages in the social care sector. Reports now suggest there are now more unfilled care jobs than before the pandemic, with care companies forced to turn down work supporting patients as they move from hospital back to their own homes or care homes. NHS Providers, which represents health service trusts, described the issue as ‘dire’ just last month, while the organisation’s deputy chief executive, Saffron Cordery, said the delays are particularly worrying as winter approaches to put extra pressure on services. Not being able to leave hospital when they are ready can delay a

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patient’s recovery and rehabilitation, said Cordery, while those waiting for treatment face backlogs. These delayed discharges have been a constant thorn in the healthcare sector, as the issue of overstretched demand for hospital beds continues to grow. Unless the sector can resolve both staffing, wage and procedural issues, these problems will only continue. It’s these challenges where we must use innovation to provide solutions. Our R&D department is integral to us at DHG, and 40 per cent of our revenues stem directly from products we have designed and patented in house. While there is never ‘a good time’ to launch a product in our sector, we feel particularly humbled to have launched our new remote monitoring surface system, Dyna-Form SMARTresponse, in this time of need. FINDING SOLUTIONS Our teams have worked hard to transform our existing award winning hybrid Dyna-Form Mercury


Graham Ewart is CEO of Direct Healthcare Group (DHG), a Caerphilly-based developer and manufacturer of pressure care products. www.directhealthcaregroup.com

Advance surface into a unique smartmonitoring mattress. Reducing the burden on clinicians and releasing more time to care, the product constantly monitors patient risk even whilst a clinician is not present. This represents a huge benefit during a time where already stretched caregiver coverage is further exacerbated. The system not only provides pressure redistribution in the non-powered mode, but also automatically steps up to provide pressure relieving alternation when increased risk is sensed. Using the SMARTresponse app, care can be stepped up automatically or remotely, for example after a period of patient non-movement is detected. It is innovations like these which answer real problems that I’m most proud of. Through our R&D department, we have designed a product which not only supports clinical time pressures and helps those at the front line of our sector

through it’s remote capabilities, but simultaneously provides care to the same level for the patient. Groundbreaking ideas such as the transformation of a mattress into a digitally-led remote monitoring system are inventions that most exemplify how the integration of technology in existing processes and products can result in potentially lifechanging solutions and better health outcomes which push the sector forward. This product was designed long before Covid, and this is perhaps the most important fact of all.

is most important in our healthcare sector. By looking 5-10 years ahead, we can begin to see fragments of what might occur, or where pressures in the system might start to cause cracks. It can be a daunting task to forecast problems and ask ourselves ‘how will our sector be struggling in five years’ time?’ but by thinking about the realistic projections of where healthcare will be, we will be in a better place to help improve situations when the time arises.

LOOKING AHEAD We weren’t to know that a pandemic would shift time pressures for carers to unprecedented levels, or that staff shortages would mean the digitalisation of our sector, whether that be through GP appointments or remote pressure ulcer monitoring, but it’s this scenario forecasting which

“It’s frustrating to know our products are ready to go, but are not being delivered to those who need them most”

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www.thiis.co.uk / 39


LET’S GET IT CLEAR

What makes a good a positioning belt? 3. Closures Postural support devices (PSD) need to have a closure system (e.g. hook and loop, buckle) that allows the occupant to be secure, and released from the PSD when needed. The system needs to be simple to secure for both fastening and release, but not liable to release accidentally. When tested in accordance with BS ISO 16840-31, the PSDs, in combination with the prescribed closure system, are required to meet the pass criteria given therein2. When selecting a belt, the type of closure employed may be the most important element to be selected. The type of closure system chosen should suit the occupant’s and/or the carer’s ability to open the buckle, bearing in mind any behavioural, mental or physical impairments.2 Furthermore, closure systems need to be selected and located such that they do not create a risk of harm to the occupant by digging into soft tissues (e.g. to the stomach or genitalia) or rubbing against bony prominences. Closure systems should be positioned where they provide no risk of encroaching on moving parts of the wheelchair or seating system. In the marketplace, there’s a number of PSDs which use off-

Dr Barend ter Haar has been involved in seating and mobility for over 30 years, including lecturing internationally and developing international seating and decontamination standards.

40 / www.thiis.co.uk

In previous issues of THIIS in the Let’s Get it Clear series, we have covered ‘What makes a good cushion?’ over six parts. An equally important component of many seating systems are the postural support devices (PSDs) provided with the seating to complement the cushion and back support elements. This is the third in a series covering PSDs, where we look at the design of different closure mechanisms and their pros and cons.

Figure 1: Belt with side release buckle set up for dual pull operation

the-shelf buckles which have been designed for use on other items than positioning belts, with different kinds and directions of forces, and as a result they might not have been tested to, and passed the BS ISO 16840-3 tests. In this article, we look at the pros and cons of some of the different styles of closure commonly available. HOOK AND LOOP CLOSURES The benefits of a hook and loop closure is that it is fast and easy to open up, and also provides for local fine adjustment around different thickness clothing, for example. The downside to this is that this risks the belt not being done up tightly enough. Also, the hook components risk being clogged up with extraneous materials such as fluff from clothing, which can decrease their ability to attach to the loop component. Where a hook and loop closure system is used, the hook side should be positioned such that it is not in direct contact with the occupant, as it can cause skin irritation. It is also important to note that hook and loop can be made to different grades of peelability, and different grades of slippability. If the peelability is too easy, the closure will not hold in place, whereas if it is too ‘sticky’,

though more secure, it will be more difficult to undo. In addition, if the grade used allows too much sideways slippability under tension, then it will fail the BS ISO 16840-3 tests. SIDE RELEASE BUCKLE Side release buckles, of the type often found on back packs, are relatively inexpensive, and thus quite common. They can be released single handedly, and present the least risk of accidental release as compared with other closures. They have the added benefit that most side release buckles can be used either for single pull belts or for dual pull belts (see Figure 1), where in the latter they offer twice the available length of webbing for tightening. However, they are not ideal for individuals with poor manual dexterity or strength, who need to release themselves from their PSD, as these buckles require a relatively strong pinch action to release. Where the prescriber wishes to add a security feature to decrease the ability of the occupant from releasing themselves from the belts, this can be achieved by the use of a secondary sliding tab which needs to be manipulated in addition to pinching the side release.


Figure 2: Interchangeable covers with different diameter holes for a push button buckle to customise the accessibility

PUSH BUTTON BUCKLE There’s a wide choice of push button buckles on the market, some of which will not pass the BS ISO 16840-3 tests due to their having been designed for other purposes and markets. For the ‘ordinary’ user, push button buckles are easy to access and operate. However, they are less suitable for some physically impaired occupants who might release themselves accidentally. The amount of force to operate the button varies from model to model, and thus some are easier to open than others. The easiest ones to get out of are those where the tongue release is facilitated by being spring-loaded. For some occupants, who are more behaviourally or mentally impaired, there is a risk that they might jeopardise their safety by releasing the buckle at an inappropriate time. This has been addressed by some manufacturers who offer slip over ‘security’ covers with smaller holes over the button, which need a pointed device to open the buckle. Bodypoint in the US has tackled this

with a more refined and less bulky solution by providing a choice of three interchangeable button covers with a choice of different diameter holes to access the buttons (Figure 2). LATCH BUCKLE Latch buckles are modelled on the buckles found on aircraft seat belts (Figure 3), and are appropriate for occupants with limited manual dexterity, but who can exert a pull on the latch. This can be further assisted by adding a belting strap through the top of the latch cover, which can be easily grabbed hold of. Due to ease of operation, there might be a greater risk of accidental release, though to protect against this, some designs require a greater angle of lift before the buckle is released. Latch buckles need to be positioned such that they cannot be accidentally released, e.g. by the occupant’s elbow, if the buckle has been placed off centre near the elbow’s natural resting position. SWIVEL BUCKLE Swivel buckles allow the two components of a PSD to rotate relative to each other. They two parts are

Figure 3: An aircraft latch buckle, and a similar action, but more streamlined, style of latch buckle

attached by a latching action and have a push release (Figure 4). Swivel buckles are appropriate where a more dynamic relationship between the components of the PSD is required. MAGNETIC LOCK BUCKLES Magnetic lock buckles have been designed for people who find it difficult to connect a standard buckle as a result of their limited mobility and dexterity, such as those suffering from arthritis or hand tremors, and also those who are partially sighted. The magnets in each part of the buckle help the buckle to align and connect on their own. A UK manufacturer, Soloc, has also created a design – Soloc Solo – which has been designed for single-handed application and release (Figure 5). The belt comprises of the Soloc magnetic buckle together with a recoiling ‘Presenter Arm’. The objective of the Presenter Arm is to hold the stud unit in a fixed position for the occupant to present

Figure 4: A swivel buckle provides for a more dynamic belt set up

www.thiis.co.uk / 41


LET’S GET IT CLEAR

Figure 5: Single-handed connection, adjustment, and release of the Soloc Solo buckle

the buckle: once the units are brought together the internal magnets will help align and connect the two units where the stud is mechanically locked in position. BELTS FOR EASIER ACCESS For easier access to the belts, e.g for those with limited manual dexterity, Bodypoint created the EvoflexR belts which have stiffened straps that conveniently pivot out of the way when you want and stay where you put them (Figure 6a). Transfers are

easier, and the straps won’t twist or fall into the wheels, avoiding dirt and damage. The Soloc Freedom provides a similar facility, where the two stiffened arms are brought into the vicinity of each other, and the magnetic lock does up the belt (Figure 6b). IN CONCLUSION No two clients are the same. The choice of type of belt, and especially

its closure, need to be considered carefully to meet the client’s, and maybe also the carers’, needs. Physical, mental, and behavioural abilities or impairments all need to be brought into consideration. 1. BS ISO 16840-3 Wheelchair seating. Determination of static, impact and repetitive load strengths for postural support devices 2. BS 8625:2019 Selection, placement and fixation of flexible postural support devices in seating. Specification

‘Let’s Get it Clear’ by Dr Barend ter Haar This series of articles explores aspects in the world of posture and mobility where there are common misconceptions and myths to be addressed, to help promote better practice. Further items can be found at www. beshealthcare.net. If you are interested in receiving further information on the topic, please contact barend@beshealthcare.net Figure 6: Evoflex and Soloc Freedom belts offering greater freedom of access

42 / www.thiis.co.uk


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RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

Buyers’ guide to Seating and cushions

Each month, discover key products from a different segment of the mobility market to consider offering to customers

Greencare Wheelchairs by Ortho Europe Greencare wheelchairs are designed to be comfortable, versatile, and uniquely customisable to suit the individual needs of the user and the environment in which they live. High-quality componentry and anodised finishes ensure unhindered performance and a smart look throughout the life of the device. Key models within the range include the DB1, which is available in several different versions, including a lightweight option and a heavy-duty option. The DB1 can accommodate a user weight of up to 32 stone and it has front propel and selfpropel options. Another key model is the Easy1 range of lightweight aluminium folding wheelchairs. www.greencaremobility.com

Gel Seat Cushion by Drive DeVilbiss Developed for use with a wheelchair but suitable for many other seating environments, this Gel Seat Cushion provides comfort for individuals up to 18 stone in weight. The cushions are available in three different thicknesses, 2”, 3” and 4”, depending on user comfort requirements, with viscous gel providing maximum support and comfort. The cushion’s cover has a waterproof nylon top and non-slip vinyl bottom, which are easy to clean. It features a carry handle for easy transportation. www.drivedevilbiss.co.uk

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EXCELLENT ALL-ROUND TRANSFER ASSISTANT

moveassist

The Alerta MoveAssist is a transfer assistant which makes transfer functions of all types quick and easy, requiring minimal assistance, promotes user engagement and enhances mobility.

KEY FEATURES Adjustable legs for ease of manoeuvring Ideal for bed-chair-wheelchair-commode transfers Perfect for room-to-room transfers Can be wheeled directly up to a toilet offering enhanced dignity Sling hooks for extra security Safe Working Load: 200kg Contact Alerta Medical for competitive prices and marketing support.

+44 (0)3452 088 097 | www.alertamedical.com | sales@alertamedical.com


RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

Three Tier Rise & Recliner by Drive DeVilbiss This dual-motor rise & recliner features a mechanism that allows independent operation of the legrest and backrest, providing countless recline options. The three-tier waterfall back design of this full-length chaise provides extra comfort and support. Two motors enable the leg rest to be elevated or lowered and the backrest to be reclined independently. The backrest can be positioned upright while leg rest is elevated. Quiet motors provide a smooth and discreet operation while an ergonomically contoured seat and padded upholstery provide added comfort and support. There is a convenient side pocket for easy storage and a safety key built into the hand controller. The rise & recliner comes with a simple to operate fourbutton handset. Its maximum weight capacity is 22 stone. www.drivedevilbiss.co.uk

Alternative Positioning Support by C&S Seating This Alternative Positioning Support product is ideal when more control of the abducted lower limb is required. It has removable side pads and middle pommel, in a wipeclean Titex and is available in two sizes. www.cands-seating.co.uk

Microcell Rise & Recline Chair by MediSmart This rise & recline chair provides comfort for the seated bariatric patient. Designed and manufactured in the UK, it adds dynamic pressure relief. Featuring a patented microcell design, the chair is available in bespoke seating sizes with user weight limits of 23 stone (standard) and 50 stone (plus size). www.medismart.co.uk

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Alerta Gel-Visco Cushion by Alerta Medical The Alerta Gel-Visco Cushion is built with a contoured moulded viscoelastic foam base, connected to a polyurethane SensaGel insert with two densities, to provide effective comfort, care and pressure redistribution for users. The viscoelastic SensaGel provides maximum relief to bony areas and the shape ensures a good posture while seated

and prevents users from sliding forward. The cushion comes with a multi-stretch and vapour permeable PU cover that is water resistant and machine washable. The maximum load is 120kg and the cushion dimensions measure 430 x 430 x 80mm. www.alertamedical.com

The Millfield Rise & Recline Chair by Wilcare Wales

EZ Stand N Go by Able2 This living room companion makes comfortable, low-slung sofas and chairs accessible for those who may struggle to get into and out of them. Simple and discreet, the ergonomic handle of the Assist-A-Tray provides easy leverage into and out of the seat. The generous tray table pivots 360 degrees, and the addition of a cup holder and extendable compartment makes this ideal for working, reading, crafting and dining from a comfy chair. Sliding under the legs of the chair or sofa, the EZ Stand-N-Go is secure and stable. www.able2.uk

Available in a choice of buttoned, lateral or waterfall back options, the classically-styled Millfield rise & recline model is characterised by its wooden knuckles and designed ergonomically to help the user in and out of the chair. The standard button-back design is aimed at users who prefer a more firmer back. Offered in three sizes and single/ dual motor and manual options, with an optional side pocket, the Millfield has been designed for users weighing up to 19 stone and is available with a range of in-built pressure care options. www.wilcarewales.com

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RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

Coolcore Cushions by Pride Mobility This new line of cushions for the Quantum range features patented Coolcore Technology, a chemicalfree, four-way stretch material that offers, moisture wicking, moisture transportation, and moisture evaporation properties. The new cushion line features a colour guide to identify the suggested HCPC code and function family. These can be identified with a colour-

coded patch on each cushion. Other features of the cushions include contoured high-density foam bases, lateral and pre-ischial shelf contours, and a range of standard-size width and depth offerings depending upon the model.

Options to come with the cushions include urethane liners for incontinence, and optional cover materials, including Stealth Tek or mesh. www.pride-mobility.co.uk

The Adjusta Rise & Recline Chair by Wilcare Wales Introduced in 2021, this rise & recline model is Wilcare’s first re-configurable chair. Available in petite, standard or grande sizes, the Adjusta features in-built depth adjustment and removable back, duvet and seat section to allow for a user-specified active air cushion. Also available is an optional height adjustment kit. Featuring an adjustable length footboard as standard, this tilt-in-space chair features built-in pressure care cushioning with healthcare fabric options. Designed for users weighing up to 25 stones, the Adjusta can be specified with factory preset multi-angle lifting options of high, low or vertical. It is available made to order. www.wilcarewales.com

UniLink Positioning by Pride Mobility These UniLink components are interchangeable and compatible throughout and enable the user to build components that fit their needs by combining links to create configurations of their own. UniLink provides four times the strength of the current TWB family of products with joints composed of steel inserts that can hold up to 102lbs before moving and each joint rotating up to 258 degrees. The UniLink simplifies the component system by using one link configuration for everything. Every part integrates perfectly with one another, giving the opportunity to better understand it, apply it and consider it for other implementations. www.pride-mobility.co.uk

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All chairs are not the same

For more information on our range go to... www.primacare.co.uk Chairs featured are Broadway and the Adelphi.


RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

Adelphi Care Chair by Primacare The Adelphi has proved to be a very popular chair with the use of soft cushioning and conventional chair wings to give postural support. Soft lateral support cushions are available as optional extras for extra postural support. The chair has a very high leg position if needed and good tilt-in-space, which allows the user to recline in comfort without affecting their hip or knee angle. The arms are removable for seat width adjustment or to enable side transfer easier for both user and carer. The cushioning of this chair in both the re-positionable cushions of the waterfall back and the lateral support cushioning makes this a very comfortable chair. It is available with manual or electric controls that operate the leg rest, tilt and back angle. www.primacare.co.uk

Queen Anne High Seat Chair by Drive DeVilbiss This Queen Anne chair has been designed with the elderly in mind, with excellent head, neck, and lumbar support. The chair features inviting seats and back cushions with fine fillings for comfort. A fully sprung platform, luxury tapered seat cushion and an inviting back cushion provide support while cushioned armrests provide additional comfort. The seat cushions are reversible for even wear and removable for easy cleaning. A matching footstool is also available and the chair is available in: Biscuit, Crimson or Sage.

Mobile Cushion System by Alerta Medical This battery powered alternating air cushion system offers effective pressure relief to users at low to high risk of developing a pressure ulcer. The control unit is equipped with a rechargeable battery which gives a remote operation time of more than 24 hours. The Alerta Mobile allows users to leave their home and enjoy the freedom to get outdoors while still receiving constant pressure relief care. It is ideal for use on wheelchairs and features alternating and static modes and enclosed control unit case. The maximum load is 130kg and the cushion dimensions are 450 x 500 x 100mm. www.alertamedical.com

www.drivedevilbiss.co.uk

Accessories by Ortho Europe Ortho Europe offers a range of accessories to adapt both Greencare wheelchairs and other wheelchairs from the major manufacturers to ensure they satisfy the exact needs of the user. From memory foam cushions that offer enhanced comfort, to Keep Safe Bags for added convenience, there is an accessory to suit all kinds of individual needs. www.greencaremobility.com

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RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

Two Way Support Cushion by Able2 The user can choose whichever surface best suits their needs and comfort requirements with this cushion. With nodular foam on one side to boost air circulation, and a smooth surface on the other for simple cushioning, this cushion is an ideal companion for someone who needs to regularly use a scooter or wheelchair. The added back cushioning provides another layer of user comfort. This cushion benefits from a coccyx cut-out which can alleviate any pressure on the tailbone, further enhancing the user’s comfort. www.able2.uk

Seat Match by Ortho Europe Seat Match are a range of custom-made seating systems that can be configured to suit the exact needs of the user and which are designed to interface both with Greencare by Ortho Europe wheelchairs and other powered and manual wheelbases from the major manufacturers. www.greencaremobility.com

Aergo PS by BES Healthcare The Aergo PS claims to be the world’s first fully responsive app-controlled seating system for young wheelchair users. Using smart air cell technology, Aergo puts children and young people who need postural support back in control, so they can feel comfortable and independent wherever they go and whatever they do. www.besrehab.net

Equazone by Helping Hand Pressure Care The only cost effective static air cushion with superb stability, the Equazone offers proven pressure reduction and a 40-stone weight limit. A memory foam back-up gives medium pressure relief, should the cushion be pierced. This high-risk pressure reducing air cushion self-inflates, making set-up easy. www.hhpressurecare.co.uk

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NEW

the glamorgan to find out about the many unique features of this chair visit wilcarewales.com/glamorgan

to become a Wilcare retail partner contact Stephen: tel: 01446 772227 email: stephen@wilcarewales.co.uk www.wilcarewales.com

15 day chairs

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7 day chairs

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next day chairs

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RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

Dash Gel Cushion by Dash Rehab by Rhealthcare The Dash Rehab cushions are a cost-effective option for your customer’s pressure care needs, with the benefit of a highly resilient foam top layer enhances air circulation and provides optimum support and comfort. The dual chamber gel helps to relieve pain and distribute the weight evenly. The removable bi-elastic PU cover is washable, vapour permeable and water resistant, with a durable, anti-slip vinyl base. www.dashrehab.co.uk

The Glamorgan Rise & Recline Chair by Wilcare Wales

The Glamorgan is a three-motor rise & recline chair with separate controls for footboard and backrest with an independent function to operate tilt-in-space. A full range of user positions is available for users up to 19 stone. This allows a tilt-in-space position without raising the legs or elevating the feet higher than the body, assisting clients with circulatory issues. Offered in petite or standard sizes, the Glamorgan features a removable duvet and back cushions, with two full-length side pockets and a loop for the controller. It is available in waterfall, lateral or button back. www.wilcarewales.com

The Axiom SP wheelchair cushion by Ki Mobility The Axiom SP wheelchair cushion combines the principles of the science of seating with high-quality materials and superior cover design. It is available with a choice of Fluid or Visco insert. Both provide increased immersion and comfort, with additional envelopment provided with the Fluid option. www.kimobility.com

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Celebrating 37 years of innovation in the caring community Supporters of dravet.org.uk

thevoiceforepilepsy.co.uk

MP5-UT EPILEPSY BED ALARM

Tonic/Clonic seizure movement detection alarm

£170.00 + VAT

MMFA66 GPS TRACKER PHONE WATCH New

Guardian Smartphone location Make & receive phone calls Fall sensor - BP/HR/Step monitoring Medication/event reminders

£74.99 + VAT Fall prevention products Dementia & Cognitive aids Epilepsy care products Wander detection & home security products

SIM card included With startup credit

We are not attending trade shows this year, but we have a lot going on. Take a look at our website.

Over 700 models available from stock. Please contact us for our trade catalogue: Tel 01460 75686 www.classiccanes.co.uk

Medpage Limited T/A Easylink UK T: 01536 264869 www.easylinkuk.co.uk

SPACE LX

THE EVERYDAY ROLLATOR

from

5.8 KG

The SPACE LX rollator combines intuitive design, smooth lines and high-strength alloy materials. Maximum user weight of 150 kg. The lightweight design makes it easy to walk, lift and turn – indoors and outside. Backrest and stick holder included. Available in medium or large and a choice of 3 colours.

electric blue

champagne gold

Rehasense UK +44 (0) 0333 220 0704 SPACE LX

IN ELECTRIC BLUE

ukadmin@rehasense.com www.rehasense.co.uk

grey


RETAILERS’ BUYING GUIDE

Alerta GelCube Cushion by Alerta Medical

Proform Cushion Range by Able2

The Alerta GelCube Cushion is built with a patented dual honeycomb structure to provide optimal blood circulation and skin health, and balanced pressure distribution. The combination of flexible air-gel cells provides a non-slip surface for superior comfort over an extended period of use. Featuring a patented dual honeycomb structure for advanced pressure redistribution, the cushion comes with a non-slip waterproof polyester cover. The maximum load is 200kg and the cushion dimensions are 460 x 420 x 50mm. www.alertamedical.com

Able2’s Proform cushion range is a great option which balances comfort and value. The high-grade nodular foam allows air to circulate freely and it can be used in a wheelchair, or any other chair where extra cushioning is needed. A range of styles are available, including 8cm or 10cm heights, optional nodular memory foam top layer and a variety of cut-out options to address a range of conditions and needs. These cushions provide pressure relief, stability and comfort for users with needs across all risk categories. www.able2.uk

True Forming Flex Backrest (TB3) by Pride Mobility This backrest is designed for comfort, customfit, and trouble-free adjustability. Its easily accessible hardware is available in both two- and four-point mounting options and is neatly hidden behind a velcro flap to maintain a sleek and clean appearance. The True Forming Back (TFB) consists of a lightweight aluminium base, a double layered foam setting consisting of SunMate® foam, and High Resilience (HR3) foam. The True Forming Back can be mounted to any chair on the market, including the Quantum TB3 Power Seating with the TB3 Spine Mounting Hardware. www.pride-mobility.co.uk

Brecon Rise and Recline Chair by Primacare Primacare’s most popular rise & recliner chair, the Brecon was voted THIIS Product of The Year 2019 and 2020. It offers a very smooth transition through the rise and recline positions with a threepillow waterfall back for added comfort. The Brecon is available in a variety of sizes as well as a wide selection of fabrics and foams with a range of accessories if required. The chair can be delivered quickly for standard size chairs in a choice of eight colours, with either a single motor or dual motor tiltin-space action, or the option of a dual motor. A favourite with both retailers and end users, the chair is simple in design but extremely comfortable. www.primacare.co.uk

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RECRUITING NOW

NATIONWIDE! We are looking for:

Service & Repair Engineers Installation Engineers Trainee Engineers Schedulers Assessors Regional Business Managers Please visit our website www.prismhealthcare.co.uk/careers or contact our HR department on:

01924 845006

hr-recruitment@prismmedical.co.uk

Custom seating solutions from

Custom seating for users with complex needs who require an advanced level of posture management.

To find out more, please visit ortho-europe.com or contact us at info@ortho-europe.com


Stiltz Homelifts are recruiting! Behind the on-going success of award-winning Stiltz Homelifts, are an amazing team of people. We are now looking for additional talent to join us to help grow our professional Field Operations teams across the UK. Installation Engineers. All UK locations

As a Stiltz Intstallation Engineer, you will install and commission our homelifts, working in customers’ homes. • You must have a mechanical/electrical background with the ability to carry out basic electrical fault finding if required. We will provide full product training • Experience in a field based role; maintenance or installations ideal • Demonstrate a high standard of workmanship and professionalism • Full UK driving license and DBS check required. You’ll be reliable and resourceful • Qualification in appropriate trade ideal

Multi-Trade Builders/Carpenters. All UK locations

You’ll support the build/installation of our homelifts in customers’ homes. As a Stiltz Multi-Trades Builder/Carpenter you will offer a high quality of workmanship including: • Experience in 1st fix carpentry (floorplan installation; joists and steel work) • Experience in 2nd fix carpentry (fixing architrave and skirting boards, fitting doors) • Proven experience of structural adaptations; joists/beams/columns/plinths/steels • Ability to read and understand architects’ drawings / structural calculations • Ideally NVQ Level 2 in relevant trade • Full UK driving license and DBS check required

Installers’ Assistants. All UK locations

Support our experienced Build/Install teams in the UK. You should have: • Strong practical aptitude • Experience of the building trade and/or allied industries • Ability to prioritise, plan and multi-task • Ideally, previous experience of assisting/labouring with experienced trades • Full UK driving license and DBS check required

Above roles are UK-based and involve travel and occasional overnight stays. If you’re excited by the prospect of working for a highly successful business that puts employees and customers first AND provides excellent staff benefits, get in touch.

OFFICE-BASED ROLES ALSO AVAILABLE! Visit stiltz.co.uk/vacancies/ 58 / www.thiis.co.uk

Our recruitment team are waiting to hear from you! Forward an up-to-date CV to jobs@stiltz.co.uk


The updated Blazer has a number of user friendly upgrades and is now even narrower than before. It is still available with either a Sling or Captain seat and a variety of accessories.

Blazer Captain

Blazer Sling

Manual Recline No Tilt-in-Space Captain Sitting Nominal Seat Width (inch): 18 / 20

Tilt-in-Space/ Standard Seat Sling Sitting Adjustable Seat Depth Manual Stepless Recline Nominal Seat Width (inch): 17 / 19 / 20


The Breeze Midi 3 and Midi 4 The compact mid-sized version of our flagship Breeze S range The Breeze Midi range has all the key elements of the Breeze S models but packaged in two nimble and easy to handle scooters, available in three and four wheel versions. With full suspension and a range of up to 30 miles, the Midi is ideal for anyone looking for a compact scooter that is equally at home in urban or more rural environments.

tgamobility.co.uk | trade.sales@tgamobility.co.uk | 01787 888 106

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