How to choose a capital equipment vendor for your LTC facility

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Choosing the right capital equipment vendor can be a large undertaking for any long-term care facility. Products differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, and each company has distinct capabilities in terms of services available.

But for directors of care and environmental service teams, it’s not just quality and availability of the equipment but also convenience and support that matters.

In other words, no two vendors are the same, and if it has been a while since you last sourced one, you could be missing opportunities to save time and budget.

Below are tips on how to find the right capital equipment vendor for your Canadian facility.

1.   Look to your community for recommendations and referrals

As is true in most industries, word-of-mouth referrals and recommendations go a long way in finding the right vendor.

Many times, we rely on the same large companies simply because we’re unaware of other solutions available – including local Canadian businesses operating right in your neighbourhood.

When looking for an equipment provider, ask your contacts within memberships like SGP, OLTCA, or at industry events like the recent Extendicare conference. Depending on your needs, they will be able to recommend the right provider for your needs and region.

Also, there are typically member discounts available.

2.   Find a company that offers multiple brands, makes, and models

As we all know, it takes more time, money, and energy to shop around several different manufacturers to get what you need.

Rather than buying hospital beds from one company, mattresses from another, ceiling lifts from yet another brand (you get the picture), look for a company that offers products from multiple vendors across product lines, makes, and models.

This will save time and budget while streamlining communications between your team and customer service.

3.   For cost-savings and added benefits, look beyond vendors your facility has historically used

It’s all too easy to just renew the contract with your current vendor without asking questions or finding a better solution. Even if you are satisfied with the company, you could be missing out on significant cost savings by not expanding your horizons.

For example, many equipment manufacturers will sell you products but don’t offer service or maintenance in between purchases. Yet these are critical services your facility will need, regardless of who provides the equipment, so finding a company that offers both sales and service is an incredibly perk that’s often overlooked.

At SFI Medical, we do just that – plus perks like digital asset tracking are including at no extra charge to all our customers. Typically, this is an IT system your facility would need to invest in and manage internally.

4.   Request quotes from multiple trusted vendors

This one is obvious, but we’ll say it anyway: make sure to compare quotes from more than one vendor when looking for a capital equipment provider!

Comparing the cost and inclusions (service or no service options? Preventative maintenance available or no?) will help you make an informed purchase decision.

5.   Make sure your vendor is licensed to sell in Canada

Making sure your chosen equipment provider has an MDEL is a must given how important this equipment is to quality care. MDEL stands for Medical Device Establishment Licence, issued by Health Canada to anyone who sells or imports medical devices (beds, lifts, and tubs all fall under this category).

It provides assurance that medical devices meet the safety requirements set out in the Medical Devices Regulations, and that procedures are in place if a problem is identified.

Make sure your chosen equipment provider has an MDEL by looking it up on Health Canada’s website. For example, you can see SFI Medical’s MDEL by searching the company or our Class I licence (#7647).

6.   Request testimonials and reviews from past customers

Review available testimonials and star ratings/reviews online or by asking past customers of the vendors you’re evaluating. This “social proof” can help make the refinement process easier.

At SFI Medical, we’re proud of our Google Review ratings and testimonial quotes from our LTC facility customers as well as home care individuals.

7.   Ensure the vendor qualifies the sale before you purchase

Last but not least, make sure vendors are able to qualify your intended purchase before the sale goes through officially. This extra due diligence on the part of the equipment vendor can help ensure the equipment is the right fit clinically (so you’re not buying something inappropriate for the residents’ needs), that you have paired the right piece with the right accessory (for example), and that you have not over- or under-ordered in terms of volume.

Overall, the vendor you decide to work with should keep your facility’s needs top of mind and work with you to ensure your team is completely satisfied.

Need more help with capital equipment planning?

Reach out to the SFI Medical team for help! We’re always available to assist with your equipment needs. You can always reach us by phone (1-888-734-4575) or email (info@sfimedical.com).

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