A simple contraption to help the sick, frail and elderly get out of bed is set to take off on the lucrative American mobility aid market.
Allan Perriam worked as a nurse for 10 years in Australia where expensive hoists were used to lift patients off of beds.
“I just saw that as undermining the rehabilitation process and undermining the independence of the patient so I thought ‘there’s got to be a better way’,” he said.
Perriam set up his own company, Innovo Health Care, and moved to South Australia in 2014 to manufacture his simple device, the U-stand Frame.
The metal frames, which sell for $480, are loaded behind patients and anchored to the floor so patients can then use the handles to pull themselves up off the bed.
Perriam said the metal frames encouraged independence and mobility for residents or patients, reduced injuries for staff who no longer had to lift patients and improved staff efficiency because fewer staff were required to move patients.
“It is truly simple and everyone is quite surprised that it doesn’t exist out there already,” Perriam said.
“The aged care or senior living market is really the perfect fit for the device.”
Innovo Health Care attended the Aging 2.0 expo in San Francisco in November to showcase the product and generated a lot of interest.
“Now we are talking to two very big distributors in the US and we look like we are hopefully going to do a deal with one of those two distributors by mid this year.”
“Conservatively we’re looking at about 85,000 units in the US just in the residential care market without even looking at hospitals, rehab facilities or home care.”
The global personal mobility devices market was valued at $US6.7 billion in 2014 and is forecast to almost double by 2023.
The U-stand Frame was launched in October 2015 after a clinical trial run by Flinders University at a hospital, rehabilitation center and an aged care facility in South Australia.
“We looked to move to Adelaide because manufacturing was cheaper and it was a bit easier to do business in Adelaide because it is a smaller city than Melbourne.”
Perriam said the frames had been well received but sales so far had primarily been in South Australia. He said the frames were being trialed by several major aged-care providers, which were looking to roll them out across multiple sites.
“As soon as people see the product it’s very well received—it’s basically like having an armchair on the bed and that’s as simple as it is.”
Perriam, who still works as a nurse at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, said he was also developing other products.
“I’m all about keeping our elderly people as functional and independent as possible for as long as possible. . . all they want is their independence—you take that away and you take their dignity with it.”
Perriam said he aimed to focus on building his brand in the Australian, New Zealand and Asian markets in 2016 and rely on distributors in countries further afield, such as the US.