Table manufacturer representatives share tips for how to select tables for your facility that will deliver function, quality, and value to clients and therapists.

In addition to educational sessions, the upcoming 2022 APTA Combined Sections Meeting will provide an opportunity to see products up close and ask questions of exhibitors. If you’re in the market for new treatment tables, the sheer number of options available there might seem overwhelming. Which is why it’s a good idea to research ahead of time so when you arrive you’ll be able to focus your efforts on evaluating the tables that are likely to check the boxes off your list.

Start by considering the needs of the patient population you treat and those of therapists at your facility, including ergonomics, adjustability, materials, and overall quality. It can also be helpful to keep in mind what will help you get more out of your tables, such as accessories and maintenance, warranties, or service agreements that might be beneficial over the long term.

To help fine-tune your quest for treatment tables, Physical Therapy Products has put together a roundtable featuring insights from these experts: Brian Kolenich, manager, R&D product development, Bailey Manufacturing Company; Tanner Siegling, sales representative, PHS Medical; and Brenda White, director of sales & marketing, Tri W-G Inc.

What advice do you have for PT clinics about getting the best value from a treatment table?

Brian Kolenich (Bailey Manufacturing Company): I strongly suggest regular inspections and maintenance. Most table problems that shorten table life can be solved before they become problems, if someone noticed the signs beforehand. This does not have to be extensive; even a short walkaround and close visual inspection will suffice. A user may not report a table issue to a superior or maintenance person until it becomes a major nuisance. Avoid this by using a formal equipment problem reporting system that will tag a table to remove it from service until the issue is corrected. If your facility is governed by JCAHO, this should be in place.

Tanner Siegling (PHS Medical): To get the best value from selecting a treatment table, first determine your primary patient population and then purchase a table that best fits the needs of both patients and therapists during treatment.

Brenda White (Tri W-G Inc): When purchasing a treatment table, you want to select a product that best meets your needs functionally while providing the best value. Healthcare providers are increasingly making decisions based on quality, not just cost. Quality adds value when products offer better patient care, create a better clinician and patient experience, and are reliable and long-lasting. You pay for quality up front, but that product will perform better, lowering equipment downtime, replacement, and maintenance costs. Quality = Value.

An added value of fully motorized treatment tables is that adjustments can be made by one clinician, alleviating the need for an additional clinician to assist with equipment adjustments. With the push of a button, one clinician can adjust the elevation to the desired height for transfer and treatment as well as raise or lower sections with the patient on the table. Manually adjusted tables are too often utilized at incorrect settings, with the therapist and patient comfort and safety being compromised simply because an additional clinician is not available to assist.

There are many different types of tables available. Do you have some tips for how to determine whether a PT clinic should purchase a hi-lo, manual, power, plinth, bariatric, or basic platform table?

Brian Kolenich (Bailey Manufacturing Company): Getting economic value is important, but so is functionality. The most important factor is, do the features meet my needs? Ergonomics of the therapist drive the need for Electric Hi-Lo tables. Increasing weights of patients drive the need for bariatric tables. Most clinics that don’t specialize will need a range of table types, often one or two tables of each type mentioned, limited by budget and space.

Don’t forget, if your tables feature electric or manual height adjustment, and you have more than one such table, then having a service agreement with a biomed repair firm is a very good choice.

Tanner Siegling (PHS Medical): When determining which type of table to purchase, it is essential to consider the needs of your patients, as well as your budget. Identify your patient base and consider their treatment needs by asking the following questions: Do you work with primarily geriatric patients or athletes? Do you provide a lot of manual therapy on your patients, or specialize in any certain orthopedic area such as knees, ankles, or spine?

Once you have narrowed down your primary treatment needs, educate yourself on the features and options of therapy tables by visiting the PHS Medical Knowledge Center to educate yourself with our product resources including eBooks, product data sheets, or comparison charts.

What accessories should clinics consider purchasing to complement the tables they buy?

Brian Kolenich (Bailey Manufacturing Company): Most customers who add or change features to tables do so to fulfill a specific set of requirements. In our company this is reflected in our wide range of accessories, and the ability to customize our tables for reasonable cost.

Our most popular accessories are paper holders and cutters, and adjustable backrests. Custom upgrades include special wood finish colors and custom color matching, and a dozen colors of vinyl tops. Height, width, and length can be changed. Thickness and type of padding can be changed. We can work with your interior designer or project manager to meet your needs.

Tanner Siegling (PHS Medical): Treatment tables are at the center of your practice, but there are several clinical accessories that will make treatments more efficient and comfortable including modality carts, stools, therapy bolsters, wellness mats, mobile workstations, StorEdge multi-purpose carts, Apollo Laser, Fluid Motion Soft Tissue tools, and logo rugs. PTP