Hanger LIVE 2020 Embarks on New Frontiers

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By Betta Ferrendelli

Live coverage from The O&P EDGE.

Nearly 1,100 Hanger employees, including more than 370 exhibitors, gathered for Hanger LIVE February 4-5 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

With this year's "New Frontiers" theme, the event not only highlighted Hanger's new look, logo, and feel, along with its employees, patients, and partners, but the new location at the Gaylord Resort brought renewed energy to the annual event. The 2019 event, called the Hanger Educational Fair and National Business Meeting for more than a decade, was held at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas. Hanger LIVE will be held again in Nashville in 2021 and in Dallas in 2022 and 2023.

"Moving Hanger LIVE to new cities is reflective of Hanger's role as a national company and a thought leader in the orthotics and prosthetics industry and offers greater access to this event to more partners around the country," said Vinit Asar, Hanger's president and CEO.

Live country music on the big stage got the Hanger LIVE 2020 opening ceremonies off to a fast and inspiring start Tuesday evening. Three Hanger patients performed, including singer/songwriter Travis Meadows, who lost his right leg to bone cancer as a teen; and model and singer/songwriter Marsha Elle, who was born with proximal femoral focal deficiency that resulted in the amputation of her right leg. Giovanna Dubuc, a 15-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina, played a violin rendition of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." Dubuc, who was born with a congenital limb difference, missing her right arm below the elbow, also rock climbs competitively. The audience gave each of the performances a standing ovation.

The conference also provided continuing education on orthotic, prosthetic, and therapeutic solutions and gave attendees insight into current research, patient care, and O&P technology. Sessions such as "An Intentional Approach to Patient Care" focused on improving patient-centered care by listening to responses from the Net Promoter Survey, where patients told Hanger Clinic that compassionate care is the number-one element that contributes to a positive experience. One of the speakers, Carrie Davis, vice president of patient experience at Hanger Clinic, was born with a transradial congenital limb deficiency. She explained to attendees during the session the importance of using person-first language.

"In school, I was the one-armed girl. I was the girl that everyone could identify because of this," Davis said and pointed to her prosthesis. "We have to remember to be thoughtful, to be kind. This is a human needing care who has come to you. Part of compassionate care is using person-first language, including referencing the person and then the diagnosis, for example, a person with limb loss, versus an amputee or a BK."

For the first time, Hanger invited physical and occupational therapists from across the nation to attend the conference. The session "Advanced PT for Lower Extremity Amputees: Strategies for Therapists" on Wednesday afternoon was designed to provide an in-depth look at the collaboration of adult and pediatric patient O&P care.

Bambi Lombardi, OTR/L, clinical therapy specialist with Hanger Clinic's Upper Limb Prosthetic Program said, "Working with OTs and PTs is critical for helping our patients succeed with the devices our clinicians fit them with. Being able to collaborate, train, and learn together in one space at Hanger LIVE was invaluable for ensuring the best possible outcomes for our patients."

 Physical and occupational therapists found the sessions beneficial. "It was a great idea," said Tami Boudreaux, PT, from Tampa, Florida, who has been a physical therapist for more than 30 years. "It helped heighten the importance of teamwork and it will help us provide better evidenced-based care in O&P."

Claire Danielson, PT, who graduated in May 2019, said she jumped at the chance to come to Nashville for the conference. She agreed with Boudreaux that the session would help to provide better, more effective outcomes in patient care.

This year's event also included the seventh annual "Women in Leadership" series, designed to foster career growth for women in O&P and engagement at Hanger. Guest speaker Lida Citroen talked about marketing and building a unique branding message.