Not So Conventional Wisdom

Stander’s Assist-A-Tray puts a unique twist on seating assistance.

They say that if you build a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door. Manufacturer of mobility and living assistance products Stander Inc. might have had that thought in mind when it developed its latest offering, the Assist-A-Tray.
At first blush, the Assist-A-Tray seems like an update on Stander’s Couch Cane product. The Couch Cane is a grab bar mounted on a solid base that fits under a couch or chair. The bar assists people who need help standing up and sitting down by offering a solid, secure point they can grab onto in order to keep their balance while raising or lowering their body into the chair.
However, the Assist-A-Tray takes that original concept and runs with it. For starters, it is designed so that it is more universal in order to fit just about any couch, chair or recliner, says Stander COO Brandon Birch. The handle has also been changed to make it more ergonomic and little less prominent.

Convenience At-Hand
But the big addition is the tray. “Our engineering team was able to figure out how to attach a tray without compromising the integrity of the handle,” Birch says. “So that it can still be used as its main purpose for standing up from a couch or chair, but then it also has the dual-pivot tray attached to the handle.”
This might seem like a gimmick, until it becomes clear exactly how much patients and seniors will benefit from such an arrangement.
“We do a lot of research with our resellers and retailers to find out what would make our products better and what their end-user customers are looking for,” Birch says. “The number one thing that could make the Couch Cane product better was adding a tray to it.”
Typically, if patients need a tray by their couch or chair, they have to use a tray that slides under the furniture so that it moves right up to them, or roll it over from the side. Then they have to move the tray out of the way if they want to change position, stand up, or simply want it out of the way. It’s an awkward arrangement to say the least.

Easy Assembly, Reliable Stability
Attaching a tray to the cane via a dual-pivot eliminates that clumsiness, Birch explains. Here’s how it works: The cane rises up from a flat base that fits under the couch or chair. Attached to that cane is the first pivot, which is connected to an arm that supports the tray. The tray, which also features a cup holder and a compartment for utensils, pens or similar items, is connected to that arm via a second pivot. This arrangement lets the user keep the tray out of the way when not in use, and easily rotate it into place when needed.
“When they're ready to get up, the dual pivot lets them move the tray out of the way really easily,” Birch says. “Then the handle is right there for them to stand up.”
In addition to the tray, the Assist-A-Tray is designed with universal use in mind. The height of the device is adjustable, as is the length of the feet that go under the couch or chair. In terms of construction, the Assist-A-Tray assembles with just three pins; one to secure the cane to the base and two to attach the tray arm to the pivot on the cane.
After the Assist-A-Tray is assembled, its base is fitted under the feet of the couch or chair, and it is adjusted into place. To keep the device stable, the base features ribbed rubber pads on its top and bottom to prevent it from sliding across the floor or the furniture feet from sliding off it. In terms of weight, it can support 300 pounds of pressure, Birch says.

Retail Ready

Following Sander’s mission to provide retail-ready products for under $200, the Assist-A-Tray is meant to be a cash sale item, and comes in full-color retail packaging. Likewise, the Assist-A-Tray’s design keeps retail appeal in mind by offering a more contemporary look via the shape of the handle, the oval shape of the tubes and subdued design.
“It looks like something that's almost like a piece of furniture, or, in this case, an addition to a piece of furniture,” Birch adds.
The suggested retail price for the Assist-A-Tray is $199, and while it won’t be on the market until either the end of December or sometime in January, Birch says Stander was taking pre-orders at the Medtrade Fall 2008 exposition.


Stander
(800) 506-9901
www.stander.com

This article originally appeared in the November 2008 issue of HME Business.

About the Author

David Kopf is the Publisher and Executive Editor of HME Business and DME Pharmacy magazines. Follow him on Twitter at @postacutenews.

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