There will come a time when elderly couples are required to provide care for each other, when adult children begin caring for their aging parents, or when young parents are required to provide care for a teenager or toddler. Whether providing self-care or caring for another, the task can be demanding of time, energy, and resources. Fortunately, there are dozens of Home Medical Equipment (HME) products and caretaking skills that can be obtained to alleviate these demands while increasing patient safety and independence.
With new, unique HME products frequently entering the market, it is not expected that you will be familiar with every available task-alleviating solution or product. For this reason, we highly encourage you to find a local medical equipment retailer. You can find your closest HME store using our Where to Buy tool.
Below are five guaranteed benefits from shopping at a local HME store:
1. Expert Product Knowledge and Training
Are you new to buying safety equipment for a loved one? If you have not kept up on the latest and greatest products, you may be lead to believe that medical equipment consists of only walkers, wheelchairs, canes, and crutches. A customer service representative at your local HME provider will debunk this myth in a heartbeat. Not only can the rep show you different options, they can help you find the best option for your needs. Customer service representatives receive frequent product trainings directly from manufactures and are equipped with the knowledge and resources to help you pin-point the perfect solution.
Maybe you need help with product assembly, adjustments, or troubleshooting. HME store reps have become experts in each product category by helping hundreds of people in the same manner they will help you.
In addition to product knowledge, another benefit of utilizing the experts at a store is that they can answer questions about utilizing your insurance, taking advantage of your HSA/FLEX spending accounts and other payment options for your medical equipment. Most retailers have teamed up with CareCredit, which helps you pay for out-of-pocket health care expenses, including medical equipment. You can learn more about CareCredit here.
2. Showrooms full of Industry Leading Home Medical Equipment
Have you ever asked yourself, “I wonder if they make something that could help my parent/spouse **insert task here** easier?” There are countless options that will help your parent/spouse become safer and more independent. By shopping a local HME retailer you will be able to touch and feel the different products to make sure it is what you want. Nearly 3 in 4 consumers prefer to shop in-store to be able to see, touch, feel, operate, or even try on items before the actual purchase. Such items that should be test-driven before being purchased include:
- Lift chairs
- Bed rails
- Walkers & rollators
- Power scooters
- Security poles
- Hospital beds
3. Additional Services Offered
“My family member is coming home from the hospital, but I don’t even know where to begin to make their home more accessible.” Fortunately, HME retailers are not just in the business to buy and sell products. An enormous benefit of shopping at a retail store are the additional services offered to make situations like the aforementioned easier on a caretaker. A few additional services may include:
- Home Assessments: Identifying in-home risks and solutions to make the home more accessible, safe, and ensuring the individual in need maintains their independence and confidence. Customer service reps have a trained eye in identifying potential risks and providing a solution. As a reference to what all a home safety assessment entails, download our free guide here.
- Product Assistance: Rollator brake tightening, ski glide installation on walkers, handle or seat height adjustments, and in some cases delivery and in-home installation. An HME rep will be there every step of the way to help you feel comfortable and confident with your product.
- Rental Programs: Do you only need a lift chair for two months or a power scooter for a weekend while mom and dad are visiting from out of town? No need to make a large purchase when the local HME retailer provides a variety of rentals including:
- Hospital beds
- Power scooters
- Lift chairs
- Portable oxygen concentrators
A great product selection, working with product experts, and creating a lasting relationship are only the beginning of the shopping process. Now that you have pin-pointed the product you want, why should you complete the purchase at the HME store?
- No waiting period – Being able to use your equipment on the same day of purchase without having to wait additional days for the product to be delivered.
- Assembly and product training – Many retailers will assemble items like bed rails, shower chairs, rollators, and power scooters on the spot.
- Continued product support – If you need brakes tightened, ski glides installed, or product warranty/replacement, medical equipment retailers have direct access to manufacturers for immediate support.
- Help with large items – Delivery services are available from most HME retailers including same day or next day deliveries. You may qualify for a free or discounted delivery charge with a qualifying purchase.
5. Making an Emotional Connection
Caring for an ailing family member can be physically and emotional tiring. When you shop for medical equipment at a local retailer you can guarantee that they have a genuine desire to provide products and services that will alleviate the physical and emotional strain. Business owners and customer service reps experience emotional connections on a frequent basis with their customers and can buoy you when times become difficult. Whether it be a personal phone call, a smile, a show of empathy, or in some cases a comforting hug, an emotional connection with an individual can help you through the caretaking process.
Continued education and product awareness are the keys to providing the finest care possible. Home Medical Equipment retailers have been trained and are equipped with knowledge and skills to share with their customers. In addition to the expertise and genuine assistance from the representatives, you will have the ability to touch and use your desired product to ensure that it is the right solution for you while at the store, get it assembled, take it home, and use it immediately. After the purchase of your medical equipment, your local HME retailer will be ready to provide additional services, continued support, and create a lasting relationship as the caretaking process continues throughout the years.