Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Giving Away Free Equipment is Complicated!

Giving away Free Equipment is Complicated!

Community involvement involves a desire to give back, something The Physical Therapy & Wellness Institute (Lansdale, Quakertown, Montgomeryville, PA) has learned can sometimes be very involved.

Janis Slusher of Quakertown, PA receives her complimentary Walker“When we first started the Aide Assist Program, communicating the need for collecting the crutches, walkers, and canes was simple. We have an active patient population that more often than not improves, gets better, and no longer needs the ambulatory help”, explains Robert Babb, PT, MBA, President of The Physical Therapy & Wellness Institute (PTW). “Since the inception of the program in January of 2010, we have collected about 50 pairs of crutches, 23 walkers, and a whole lot of canes. We inspect each unit, and when we issue them we correctly size them and instruct of proper use, all free of charge. Our challenge has been communicating the idea of distribution so we can get them out to people in need. We just have been struggling to spread the word."

Janis Slusher, a patient under the center’s physical therapy program in Quakertown, PA, just this week received a complimentary walker, fitting, and instruction. Sara Antolick, office manager of the Quakertown PTW, stated that, “Janis was thrilled! “She told us the local Pharmacy prices ranged from $75.00 to $110.00, without instruction or sizing. She was so impressed that this service was free to her”.

Much to Babb’s surprise was a donation from a local orthopedic surgeon. “We had an open house on October 5th, with a lunch and learn open to the community. Our guest of honor was a local orthopedic Physician, who group recently merged with another practice, all into a larger, new office. As a result, he had his own inventory of old crutches. He became aware of our Aide Assist program while at our open house, and kindly donated his two closets of crutches”.

Challenging PTW’s success is the memory loss of their customers. With a strong belief that their customer base (Physicians, Patients, Fitness Clients, Case Managers, Office Staff, etc) will spread their message through word of mouth delivery, the staff at PTW realize it will take numerous reminders of this program until the idea is embedded. A popular means of recovering memory from memory lapses is to take ”retrieval journeys” [1]. This helps people remember because it allows them to re-create previous facts or experiences in a controlled fashion - piece by piece. Supporting this thought, coming in November this year, the marketing staff at PTW will paint a crutch, with information on the aide assist program inscribed on the crutches. These small journeys are direct properties that will help the Physicians, their staff, and the patients recollect the information regarding the Aide Assist program.

Through it all, a business lesson is clearly demonstrated. Quoted from Napoleon Hill, “Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything”. PTW will continue to focus on communicating the message about the Aide Assist program until the message is clear.

Robert Babb, PT, MBA
(1) D. Elsweiler, I. Ruthven, and C.Jones, Towards memory supporting personal information management tools, JASIST (2006).