Sales: 1-877-275-4907 Service: 1-877-275-4912Rentals: 1-877-275-4915

Assisted Living Resident Transportation: Beyond the Occasional Doctor’s Appointment

Multipassenger minibuses like this one have a wheelchair lift for residents in wheelchairs. MobilityWorks sells and services commercial vehicles of all types, including those used by assisted living centers located throughout the country.

Years ago, a trip to the doctor’s office for a senior housing resident in a wheelchair was often the only connection they had to the outside world. That was yesterday. Today’s message is that people living in assisted living centers and retirement communities can and do remain very active. Brochures and websites for elder care facilities now advertise their ability to provide transportation to hairdressers, shopping centers, religious services, outings and many other daily activities, even on short notice. Adequate transportation enables elderly residents to live more independently and prevent feelings of isolation. For this reason, centers are changing the way they manage and organize outside activities, giving residents more choices on what they would like to do on a daily basis.

“Shuttle buses are moving billboards that provide continuous, visual advertisements of the senior living center to the community.”

What differentiates one facility from another in meeting the needs of active senior lifestyles can often be found outside the center, ready to take a group of seniors on the road. It’s the numerous minibuses and wheelchair-accessible vans, in many shapes and sizes, that provide this valuable service. Assisted living centers with an ample fleet of shuttle buses and wheelchair vans are discovering that their vehicles are a noticeable differentiator. Families that help with evaluating assisted living centers often look to transportation services as an indicator of whether their parent or grandparent is going to be able to continue enjoying the activities they’re accustomed to.

From a marketing perspective, shuttle buses are moving billboards that provide continuous, visual advertisements of the senior living center to the community. For operational and medical purposes, they are vital to the services being provided. While many facilities contract for medical ambulatory type trips, the dynamics and importance to customer satisfaction in getting residents to outside activities has changed how organizations view their transport capacity. By increasing their transportation capabilities and marketing appeal with more activity options, a facility has a greater chance of keeping their units filled.

Centers today can have several multipassenger vehicles on the road at any given time, transporting one or a dozen residents to and from various destinations. Almost all of these transport vehicles have a wheelchair lift and space for wheelchair passengers, a necessary feature in providing mobility and freedom for many residents. Some vehicles can accommodate several wheelchairs, while others can only fit one or two at a time. All wheelchair vans have special tie-down systems in place for keeping wheelchairs in place and for passenger safety.

Whether it’s a 12-person minibus with wheelchair accessibility or a traditional van with a fold-out lift, the right combination of vehicles in a fleet can provide a great service for residents and an opportunity for growth. Successful centers are an active participant with its neighboring communities and the senior group events that bring friends together. Wheelchair-accessible buses and vans provide more opportunities for continued community involvement and increased awareness to potential new residents. The ability to be flexible and creative with providing transport services will become increasingly more important for centers in the future.

To learn more about our Commercial Vans for assisted living centers and senior care transportation, go to MobilityWorks Commercial.

This article was originally written by Guy Hanford for ‘Promoting Excellence’ magazine published by the Health Care Association of Michigan (HCAM). The publication is distributed to long-term care professionals throughout the state of Michigan. Mr. Hanford is the Director of Marketing for MobilityWorks.

Gas Stations Designed for Easy Fueling

Do the pumps in your area measure up?

“I always have my husband go to get gas for me… it can be a real pain going to fill up.”

The able-bodied person can go to just about any gas station in the United States and the process to fill up the tank will be the same. They simply get out of the car, truck or SUV, swipe the credit card (or go inside with cash) and in less than five minutes time they are on their way to the next destination. But what if you are in a wheelchair? That process is much different depending on where you go and whether the operating buttons are at accessible height. If the keypad isn’t at a lower height, like the one shown above, they are nearly impossible to reach from a wheelchair. A station with eight pumps may have one with a keypad at a lower height, below 54″ to meet ADA compliance standards — but that doesn’t help with getting in and out of the vehicle. Many stations have a sticker on the pump with a “call for assistance” phone number. But, they are often out of service, no one inside picks up the phone, or it goes to a toll-free 800 number that rings to a remote call center. The process can be described as something that much less than world-class customer service.

For many individuals, refueling means honking the horn to get an attendant’s attention or waiting to ask another station customer for help. Some of our clients told us they have a friend or family member tag along for the ride whenever they need a refuel. “I always have my husband go to get gas for me” said one woman. That’s not always very convenient, especially when travelling. For those who drive a non-converted vehicle with hand controls, assembling and disassembling the wheelchair to get in and out can be a very time-consuming process. Fortunately, there is a better solution that is starting to take hold.

Fuel Call® rings a device inside to let the attendant know that someone needs assistance with re-fueling.

Fuel Call® is the product name of Inclusion Solutions wireless assistance technology that provides the person in a wheelchair with a very a simple, easy way of contacting a gas station attendant. There is no obscure phone number to call. An ADA compliant push-button, positioned at exactly 48″ high directly beside the pump, signals a device inside the station. It has a distinctive ring-tone and flashes a strobe light to let the attendant know there is someone needing help at a pump. It is currently being used at more than 500 stations throughout the country.

Advocacy and Legislation

Getting buy-in from the station owners to make the investment hasn’t been easy. Patrick Hughes, Founder and CEO of Inclusion Solutions says that most owners see placing a sticker on a pump with a phone number as being all that’s needed to be compliant. Whether the call is being answered 100% of the time and assistance is being provided in a timely manner is another story. For Hughes, his products are more about providing better service and retaining good customers. “Why wouldn’t you want that?” – says Hughes. Accessibility has been his passion since becoming friends in college with a fellow student who had cerebral palsy. His other self-designed solutions provide a similar service for restaurants and stores that don’t have an accessible ramp or automatic door. Big Bell™ alerts staff inside that assistance is needed at the door. They typically come out with a portable ramp to go over a threshold or step that can’t easily be removed or redesigned. At least it provides a method of accessibility.

Florida’s Broward County just recently passed a law requiring that gas stations post a phone number on gas pumps or provide an intercom system like Fuel Call® so that drivers can ask for help with refueling. A service station employee is then required by law to offer help. The movement is also picking up some steam with advocacy groups as well. Representatives with the Paralyzed Veterans Association (PVA) and members of congress are also working toward better gas station accessibility and service. Everyone agrees that honking horns and calling disconnected 800 numbers needs to be a thing of the past.

What’s Your Gas Station Story? Good or Bad…

Do you honk the horn, have a favorite gas station or attendant, have a friend come along for the ride, roll down the window and ask a passer-by for help — or just grin and bear it, getting in and out spending more time at a gas station than most people do to eat their lunch? Let us know on our Facebook page.

 

Oktoberfest Coming to MobilityWorks of Pasadena

Guest Speakers and Exhibitors Kick Off Inaugural Pasadena Store Event – Friday, October 25th.

Please join us at MobilityWorks of Pasadena on Friday October 25, 2013, from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM for an exciting Oktoberfest celebration. There will be special guest speakers beginning at 11 AM until 3 PM. Topics include Medicare Changes, Reverse Mortgages, Assistive Technology, and Neuromuscular Disease Research. Plus, there will be a chance for guests to win raffle prizes and promotional items. Our Pasadena store is located at 325 N. Altadena Drive, Suite A, Pasadena, CA 91107.

For more information, visit our Pasadena Octoberfest page here.

Our Oktoberfest Exhibitors:

Amramp
Apple West Home Medical Supply
At Home Living Solutions
Braun
CareMore
Colours Wheelchairs
Douglas LaMarche – Wheelchair Artist
El Dorado
Glendale Adventist Medical Center Rehab Medicine Services
Harmar
Kangen Water and Coffee
Kinova USA
Mobility Lifter
National Spinal Cord Injury Association
Pro Bed Medical Technologies
Rolling Start, Inc Center for Independent Living
SCI Total Fitness
Senior Ability Travel
ShelfGenie
Total Comfort Home Care
Villa Esperanza Services
Villa Gardens
VMI

Visit our Pasadena CA store web page and meet the entire team.

MobilityWorks Now Serving the Oakland CA Community

Visit General Manager Mark Magnus and Service Manager Leo Fazzi at 1822 Embarcadero Ave.

We are pleased to announce that on Monday August 12th, at 8AM, our new Oakland CA location will officially open its doors for business. The address is 1822 Embarcadero Ave., Oakland, CA 94606.

The Oakland location is adjacent to I-880 on the Oakland Inner Harbor across from the Alameda Coast Guard station and Alameda Island. With Oakland, and our recent VCI Mobility additions in PA and NJ, the total number of MobilityWorks consumer store showrooms has risen to 30 throughout the country – with 8 in California! Our other California showrooms are located in Burlingame (near San Francisco), Chico, Fresno, Pasadena, Santa Clara, Sacramento and Van Nuys (near Los Angeles).

Visitors to the store will meet with Mark Magnus, our Oakland General Manager, and Leo Fazzi, Service Manager. New and pre-owned wheelchair vans will be available for purchase or to rent. We will also be installing scooter lifts, wheelchair lifts on full-size vans, hand controls, turning seats and more. Commercial clients can also get their lifts serviced at the new facility.

Visit our Oakland CA page for store hours and additional information. Call our Client Care Center at 1-877-275-4907 to schedule a free mobility consultation. We look forward to meeting and serving our new friends in Oakland and the entire East Bay area with accessible travel solutions.

Congratulations to Mark and Leo on their new positions with MobilityWorks. A ribbon cutting ceremony with city officials is being planned for a later date.

MobilityWorks Adds Van Conversions Inc with Four Wheelchair Van Showrooms

VCI Mobility has locations in Bethlehem PA, Norristown PA (near Philadelphia), Cinnaminson NJ and Woodbury NJ.

Acquisition Includes Philadelphia and Bethlehem, PA Markets

We are very excited to announce another acquisition that allows us to serve more people in the areas of Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey. Van Conversions Inc (aka VCI Mobility) has been serving the area since 1984 with accessible van sales, scooter lifts, service and rentals – in addition to Commercial vehicles.

VCI Mobility has two Pennsylvania locations; in Norristown and Bethlehem, and two New Jersey locations; in Cinnaminson and Woodbury. With four new VCI Mobility locations, MobilityWorks now has 30 consumer showrooms nationwide in 12 different states. A new store location in Oakland, California will be open for business August 12th.

Although it was originally announced in press release on June 25th, Bill Koeblitz, MobilityWorks President/CEO and Jack Donovan, President and co-owner of Van Conversions Inc in Norristown, PA officially closed the deal on August 7th.

“It was very important to me that MobilityWorks had the same kind of caring culture that we have at VCI. The people always come first,” said VCI Mobility President and co-owner Jack Donovan. Mr. Donovan will continue to manage the four VCI consumer locations, along with other members of the VCI management team.

Welcome VCI Mobility staff, clients and friends!

We look forward helping our new clients with the industry’s most comprehensive selection of inventory and adaptive equipment solutions.