GelO News March 2015

Thoughts from the Gel Master
Woke up this morning - pressure on my mind (apologies to the We Five). I thought about all the ways we in the patient care business (clinicians, suppliers and manufacturers) address the issue. Over the next year, I thought I'd share my thoughts with you and hope that you will share yours with me. There are two interesting approaches I keep on running into when I'm in the field or talking with end users who have an issue with pressure on their seating or lying surfaces. The first I call The Ostrich and the second (my personal favorite) is Duct Tape and... you name it. The Ostrichworks on the established medical principle of benign neglect. Wanting NOT to do something bad, sometimes the alternative becomes NOT doing anything. The advantages: low cost, quick, and easy. And sometimes problems, that are small or only potentially there, never materialize. The downside is that when a problem does materialize, it can quickly and easily become serious, both in cost and outcome. Why Duck Tape and .....? Because over the years I have seen virtually every method of "padding" used to address pressure issues that can't be ignored. Like The Ostrich, this is low cost, quick and can be made with things that are always so conveniently at hand - towels, foam, pipe wrap, sheepskin, old rags, old underwear (yes really) and that pinnacle of design specialists - duct tape. (which BTW now comes in colors and University Logo designs) So what's wrong with low cost and good old American ingenuity? It doesn't address the pressure issue and may even create some issues including raising surface temperatures with the contingent problems that can cost. It's almost never easy to clean and when it goes bad (which is often), it becomes a clean up and removal nightmare. I know why it's done. Back in the day, good solutions were often either hard to come by or very costly. But things have changed. Innovation marches on and so should we all. With literally hundreds of easy to use, effective and low cost products out now, I think it's time to retire The Ostrich and Duct Tape and to the Rehab Hall of History. Just in case you want to say to a new grad one day, "You should see how we used to have to do this.
Chris Now That IS State of the Art 2015.
A any other name
It would be easy to think of me as someone with a fully derogatory opinion about slang like when teenagers say "lemme" as opposed to the perfectly functional "let me". Since I tutor as an ESL volunteer, slang often makes my job, teaching people from Myanmar or Egypt or Mexico to read, write and speak proper English, much more challenging. But I'm not truly upset by all slang, just some of it. Firstly, slang isn't new. When Rome ruled the world, the proper language was "classical Lattin" sometimes referred to as "high" Latin, to differentiate it from "vulgar", which back then didn't mean offensive, but rather referenced the language spoken by everyday folks throughout the empire which was often combined with words from their native tongue. Which is a lot like how Yiddish differs from Hebrew. And making up words, when you've the need, is nothing new either. Our old friend William Shakespeare is said to have added over 2200 new words to the English language including: Addiction (can you imagine Entertainment Tonight without the word?) Arch-Villain (which deserves a "thank you" from Ian Fleming) Assassination (we had the word for assassin but not the act of what they did) Hot-Blooded (which deserves a "thank you" from Foreigner) Cold-Blooded (how could you have one without the other?) Eyeball (where would the horror genre be without that one?) Manager (which deserves a "thank you" from employees EVERYWHERE) Uncomfortable (how would we have described footwear without it?) When old Will couldn't find just the right expression to convey what he wanted, he just made it up. A hyphen here, a pairing there, a suffix, a prefix and pretty soon, we had a language that was the most expressive anywhere. But what stands out even more to me is how people, who had NEVER heard the word before knew exactly what he meant. Some new slang is a lot like that. Watch someone twerk once and you would never have a second thought about calling it anything else. But, it seems, that much of the slang today isn't about being understood; it's about having a language that other people don't understand. Whether it's "turnt up" or "cray cray" or "or nah", the purpose seems to be more about having one's own language: to identify with those who are more like you. And to exclude those who aren't. There's nothing wrong with it - maybe "really crazy" doesn't capture the spirit of "cray cray" - but if communication is about bringing folks together - then this slang isn't about communication. I'm going to say it's all about "disiffication". I made that last word up.
ISS at Nashville
Single digit temperatures and snow outside but the usual good spirits and warmth on the inside. One of the real joys of these annual get togethers is the chance to meet with old friends, make new ones and exchange thoughts. We also got to show off our latest creations and get invaluable feedback and insights from the attendees. Of course, Robo P.A.W.S. continues to be a major attraction at the booth and we are grateful for the enthusiastic response it continues to get. The general consensus continues to be that there is a real need for this product, not only in Long Term Care, but also (With the Robo P.A.W.S. Rehab) in the acute setting as well. We were also told that the Hospice community might be interested as well. We also premiered our soon-to-be released CPMS (Comprehensive Power Management System.) This device (an after market add-on compatible with every battery-powered wheelchair and scooter) is a collaborative effort with our colleagues Down Under (aka Australia) and drew interest from end-users, clinicians, technicians and even one of the battery manufacturers. The CPMS, (scheduled for release in the 4th Quarter of 2015) improves the safety, the performance and the life of the batteries. It can also be used to assess driver behaviors and system fit. If you want to know more, let us know and we will send you the Product Info piece. If you were one of the many, many folks who stopped by the booth, thanks for your input and we hope you enjoyed the candy bars.