A stretcher is a device used for moving patients who require some kind of medical care or assistance and are unable to walk themselves for any reason. They are used by hospitals and nursing homes primarily. There are several types of stretchers like cots and litters which are carried by two people or wheeled ones known as gurneys, trolleys or beds. The stretcher accessories market includes everything which aid the medical staff to assist the patient like different kinds of incubators, cot handles to bend the cot over when at its lowest position, poles to keep the stretcher upright and mattresses to make the patient comfortable while also minimizing their movement while transporting. There is a recent trend to rent out slings or lifts for a short duration to patients (typically 4 to 6 months) along with flexible rent payment options which enable hospitals to easily manage their cash flows year round. This would also be expected to drive the demand for the stretcher accessories market forward.
Stretcher Accessories market Drivers, Restraints, Key Regions and Key Market Players
An increasing number of disabilities, accidents mainly in the developing world, an aging population in the developed world, high risk of injury to medical staff while aiding patients and strict regulations against manually lifting heavy loads can all be expected to grow both the stretcher and the stretcher accessories market in the medium to long term. According to World Health Organization data, the global scourge of disease is expected to involve 1.18 million patients per year by 2021 and nearly 1.43 by 2031. A study conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) observed that musculoskeletal problems like strains and sprains were one of the main causes of injury to health care workers and these happened while manually moving, shifting and or lifting patients. Hence, they are adopting wheeled stretchers to assist them which would also increase the scope of the stretcher accessories market. Stretchers are required not only by the intensive or critical care units of hospitals but also fields as different as Orthopaedics, Neurology, Rehabilitation centres etc.
Medical equipment is very expensive and requires a lot of capital investment. An apprehension on the part of hospitals in the developing world because of the low return on investment (ROI) is a major issue for the stretcher and thus the stretcher accessories market. These countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Asia don’t have any legal protocols concerning proper handling of patients along with their handlers. Hence their healthcare systems are highly irregular, fragmented with lack of long term planning. Lack of awareness about how the accessories can minimize injuries for both patients and handlers also pose a major challenge for the stretcher accessories market. However, increased pressure from international organizations like WHO will spur these countries to adopt safer handling procedures in the future.
Europe is the largest market for patient handling equipment like stretchers and thus it would also be the largest stretcher accessory market. It is followed by North America which is the fastest growing. This is because of rising reports of non-communicable diseases which may lead to disability and strict government regulations mandating the procedure of handling patients. Asia Pacific is growing because of the rising population, increased investment in hospitals and healthcare by both the public and private sector and also government efforts to revamp their laws to make them more similar to those of developed countries. Companies competing in both the stretcher and stretcher accessories market would do well to focus their attention on this key region.
The main players in the stretcher accessories market are Stryker Corporation, Invacare Corporation, Invacare Corporation, ArjoHuntleigh (Getinge Group), Etac AB, Hill-Rom Holdings, Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc, Patterson Medical Holdings, Inc., Permobil AB, Stiegelmeyer & Co. GMBH, DJO Global and Sunrise Medical LLC.
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