Wednesday, 11 April 2012 14:05
|Tell us a bit about Handicare and how long they have been manufacturing products for:
Handicare was born 26 years ago from the inspiration of 3 Norwegian accident victims who met whilst in rehabilitation in hospital.
Together they used their knowledge and entrepreneurial skills to start a wheelchair company called Rullestolekspertene. From this humble origin, the Handicare organization has blossomed into the multinational company that we are today. One of those 3 men is still works in the company, he is Tom Myklebus , Director of International Sales, based in Oslo.
Who would say is your target audience:
The simple answer is: Anyone with mobility problems. A more comprehensive response is that we make a whole range of healthcare products from wheelchairs and scooters through to stair lifts, hoists and even bath lifts. There is not enough room on this page to list all of our product lines!
My job is National Sales Manager for Mobility and we are responsible for the sale of wheelchairs, scooters and rollators. We supply these products through a network of dealers throughout the UK. C F Hewerdine are a particularly efficient and knowledgeable company and are able to supply level of expertise and understanding required in our industry.
What type of wheelchairs do you produce?
We produce powered wheelchairs that are designed for indoor and outdoor use. We also make a range of manual wheelchairs for both passive and active users. In addition to this we manufacture a range of powered mobility scooters which can be configured easily to offer extra support and improved posture. We have some unusual extra options, for example wheelchair leg rests, which help people who may prefer a scooter to a wheelchair.
What would you say is the biggest change you have seen in the type of products being made?
I would say that modern design and manufacturing techniques have resulted in more reliability and adjustability which means safer and more comfortable products.
We involve ALL stakeholders in the process of designing a new wheelchair; Wheelchair users , carers, OTs, Physios, Nursing Homes, schools and hospitals. There are always new opportunities and we have now added Design Institutes to our list. Many of them, around Europe, are constantly looking for industries where manufacturers are seeking to embrace modern technologies.
How does feedback from wheelchair users and suppliers affect wheelchair design?
One of Handicare`s greatest attributes is the ability to adjust and adapt our products to suit individual needs. We actually welcome comments and constructive criticism of our wheelchairs from both users and our dealers. It is through their observations that we have developed some of our most effective adaptations.
There are lots of disabled people campaigning for greater accessibility to buildings. Do you take this into consideration when designing your wheelchairs?
Yes most certainly. In fact we have one of our team who works closely with the BHTA (British Healthcare Trade Association) and the Office of Fair Trading on such matters. There are a multitude of issues that are under constant scrutiny. This liaison ensures that we are always close to new developments and events.
We are particularly impressed with the Puma 40. What made you decide to create this type of chair?
The Puma is a long established brand name for us. This product is synonymous with its ancestors and reflects build quality, reliability, strength, comfort and adaptability. We think that we have learned much over the years and this latest Puma 40 reflects everything that we have learned.
In your opinion, how do you see wheelchair design changing in the future?
I think there will be ever more emphasis on comfort, design and functionality. There are some amazing opportunities ahead through nano technology and exoskeleton technology.
Which is your favourite wheelchair of all time?
The Alex! This chair enabled a lady “of mature years” who has some considerable physical issues, to realise her ambition to travel from Lands End to John O` Groats. At the same time she broke a world record and made it into the Guinness Book of Records. This lady epitomises the very best aspects of our working environment. We are lucky indeed to make our living whilst meeting and helping such people.
Thanks ever so much Paul for answering our questions!