Preface: I can’t say enough positive things about this interview. This is a game-changer for men who are having trouble staying clean and have mobility issues. I would also like to say- thank you Patty Sands- it took a woman to invent a product to help men with their issues! 🙂

https://www.male-urinal.com/

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

This is Valerie VanBooven with the Senior Care Industry Netcast, where leaders with three or more years of experience in the senior care market share their advice with us. So with that, we’re going to start with our first question. In a few sentences, tell us who you are and what you do.

Patricia Sands:

Hi, thank you so much for having me here. I’m Patty Sands and I am a inventor and business owner. My business idea came from taking care of my dad who had a ten-year recovery from a stroke. I’m also a military widow so I have extensive experience with long-term care. Also in my profession, I’ve been a social work coordinator and I’ve worked for the army Wounded Warriors. So, my heart is with those in recovery. How we started is my dad went from a big strong man to needing 24-hour care very quickly. Along with long-term care, he was incontinent and it just seemed to us that there had to be a better solution to urinals that spilled, catheters that were invasive, diapers that were humiliating, and I very naively just thought I would try and make a better bottle. So, a long story short, it took quite a journey to do, but we just made a…

            Here, I can show you our bottle. You can tell the difference. Here’s a typical one. The body goes right into the containment area here, and it’s very prone to spill and it also is very crushed. Ours is wide, stays very stable, and we also added something brand new, which is amazing. There’s a silicone band, which makes it incredibly better, not only just for our bottle, but if we put the band on this product, we’ve made their product spill-proof, too.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Ah, better. I see.

Patricia Sands:

This is a game changer. So, we got lucky. We really did, to enter into a major market that’s ruled by distributors, and had wonderful people help us with the patent, the engineering, all of those things to help us get going with the business. I’m just going to think. The best thing that we want to do is to help people have a better quality of life and also to help a man manage his own care with dignity.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. You know what? It doesn’t take much now. Okay. So, here’s the next thing. You got to fix us ladies up too, because boy, oh boy. What a crazy time that is if you can’t get out of bed and there can be many reasons. If you’re pregnant and you have a high-risk pregnancy, you can’t get out of bed and you got to use a bed pan.

Patricia Sands:

I agree. And you know, the mold for this was affordable. But to do the mold, I had an idea for a woman’s mold. $100,000 for that mold.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Wow.

Patricia Sands:

This one has to make money first, then we’ll roll out to another invention there, but-

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I know things have been tried, but yes, ladies definitely have our own challenges too, but I’m glad that you have come up with this because I will also say that you’re right. No human, no man wants to ask for help when it comes to this stuff. And sometimes it’s inevitable you need a little help. But on the other hand, I mean, just a simple thing, like a back surgery. I know my husband has had back surgery. He had an ankle surgery and not being able to fully bear weight on that ankle, at least the first few days after surgery, I mean, it gets easier over time, but I can remember him crawling to the bathroom.

            We just were not prepared for the nausea and other things that he was going to go through, and he had to crawl to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I had no idea. He was sleeping downstairs because he couldn’t do stairs either, at that moment. So, the whole thing would have been a little bit easier had we had something much more easier for him to navigate like this. So, it doesn’t take much to get into a position where you can’t go to the bathroom by yourself.

Patricia Sands:

It impacts so many things. That’s one thing we thought. The NIH calls this a, or FDA, a external collection device, and it’s preferable because the skin integrity of not having… We had so many UTIs with my dad and then he got a antibiotic resistance and they had to mix a cocktail to get rid of it. So, part of our mantra here is one small change can make a big difference, and that’s what keeps us going.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Wow. What an amazing adventure you’ve been on with all of this and thank you for doing these things because yeah, like I said, any of us who’ve ever had a surgery that amounts to not being able to really get up without help for a couple of days, we all have had this challenge and our aging adults specifically, whether it’s dementia or stroke or yeah, it is really a hard time.

Patricia Sands:

And we have to-

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Let me ask you some of our regular questions that we normally ask. What is the best thing about serving aging adults? This has been a long adventure for you, so you must have a real passion.

Patricia Sands:

It has, it has. Let me look at my little notes. I’m so nervous here, but I’m just so glad you had me here. I would say, helping people that I will never know have a better quality of life. They will never have the challenges that we did or the humiliation my dad did or less. And I would say that would be the absolute best part of this journey is to… I can’t solve all the problems, but I can maybe take a crack at that one-

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s nice.

Patricia Sands:

… and that brings me a lot of joy. We have very interactive customers and stores and they want us to succeed as much as I want them to succeed and they don’t hold back. I had a problem with the lid and I listened and changed it, and they really let me know how I could make things better.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Nice.

Patricia Sands:

Very grateful. I feel like I’m just making friends every time I pick up the phone.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s very good. Well, if you’re willing to listen and you’re willing to hear the challenges that your customers are facing, ones that you may not even thought of, and you’re willing to make changes for that, that’s awesome. Because not everybody’s willing to do that and I know a little manufacturing change can sometimes be a very big deal. So, yeah. So, tell me just before I go on, where can people get this now? Where can they get this type of urinal now if they want to try it out or they want to buy one? Can they buy it somewhere?

Patricia Sands:

Well, the easiest way to find about our website. It’s male, M-A L-E, then with a dash, urinal.com. We’re also on Amazon and we have National Medical, Preston’s Pharmacies, Zask, Vienna Rexall. We were in Dr. Leonard’s umbeatable sales, things like that. But if you go to our website of male-urinal.com, we’ll be happy to interact with you and serve your needs.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Oh, that’s great. Okay. So, we’ll put the website with your recording here, with your video, so people know exactly how to get to you.

Patricia Sands:

Thank you, thank you.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. So, you talked a little bit about your dad, so I’m going to imagine my next question is a pretty easy answer. I’m going to imagine that in your career and in your lifetime, there have been people, there have been organizations that have really meant a lot to you, or you think, “Toy, they do a great job,” or they’ve been like mentors or inspirations to you. Who would you like to talk about?

Patricia Sands:

Well, no doubt about it. The two people that inspired the product would be my dad, John Sands, and then my husband, Michael Stern, and he was, in fact, in ICU, CCU, RN at Virginia Hospital Center. I would have to highlight that hospital as one of my favorites. It’s our local hospital. They took care of my dad when he had a stroke and I can’t say enough about Virginia Hospital Center. Let’s see. I was a social work coordinator at Falcon’s Landing. They take amazing care. It was wonderful to be part of that team. One of my executive directors at Golden Living was Jason Monroe. I can tell you, I worked for the army Wounded Warriors and General Williams, Colonel Gadson did everything in their power to help people go back and recover. I could go on and on.

            We’ve had so many endorsements from nurses, Diane Fiedler with Stratford University, Lydia Williams who’s my personal friend. I’ve seen her in action and take beautiful care. Let me think. I have so many I can’t… I have to tell you, as a military widow, I had no business experience at all and there are wonderful standup organizations to help people like me. The Women’s Business Center of Northern Virginia. There’s the Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans Families and [inaudible 00:11:10] out of Syracuse and without them, I wouldn’t have been able to formulate everything.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Nice. Very nice that those organizations-

Patricia Sands:

Yes. Lots of support.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Very good. Yeah. I know that those small business organizations, whether they’re for folks like you or just anybody in general, they are so helpful. I can remember years and years ago going to some classes that the Small Business Association held, and we had the opportunity to talk to people from Score, which I think is older, much wiser business people, or maybe they’re retired volunteers. They help you think through your project or your business, and those resources are invaluable.

Patricia Sands:

They are.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

I mean, I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if I hadn’t gone to some of those classes and really got a good picture of what it’s like to be in business for yourself. So, that’s great.

Patricia Sands:

It is. Our CFO is Rob and he keeps us tracking with the IRS and the FDA.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah. And that’s a lot of work. That’s a whole full-time hat right there. All right. Let’s talk a little bit about online marketing. So, I’m going to guess that a big part, obviously you just gave us your website, a big part of what you do is some online marketing, as well as some networking online or in-person or however you’re able to do that at this moment. So, you’ve got your website and you guys started selling on Amazon. What has online marketing meant to you? What’s been to your experience or your thoughts on that?

Patricia Sands:

Okay. Online marketing is quite a challenge, especially for someone 60. It’s quite a learning curve and I’m very lucky to have my daughter who advises me on just the audiences and the approach with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all of those things. She says, “Even if you’re making mistakes on a video, it’s charming.” I’m so glad. At least that’s what she tells me.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

It is. It is charming. You know what? It’s okay. I think we’re to a point, especially when we do these interviews, you got to know that, I mean, I put my makeup on twice a week and that’s when I do these interviews. I think everybody gets it, especially right now when we’re all relegated to our homes and we’re not really out there doing crazy things. I mean, in our age group, it’s fine. Everybody gets it.

Patricia Sands:

Oh, it is, and I think the only real mistake you could make with social media is not doing anything.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

That’s true.

Patricia Sands:

You have to jump in and just try. We’ve done different avenues and approaches, and not only talking about the product, which can get old quickly. I mean, we create ads for the industry, for the F-tags, for the comparative, for the nurses, but we’ve had a lot of fun just mixing it up for truck drivers, for people in airplanes, and even funny ones where there’s two guys. “Are you looking for a good urinal? You’re in luck.” To look at the data on how many views you get on that, it becomes kind of fun. Not that you can run that all the time, but then you realize looking at it, what days are more populated with views and you kind of get a sense, not that I’m competent on it, but I definitely are having fun.

            And the one things that we’ve noted is to the content. That if we, Molly, my vice-president, my sister, we look similar, we’d be here together and you’d be like, “Wow,” but she’s an RN, and so we were doing video and we’re told we need to do two YouTube’s a week, which is quite a step up for us.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Wow. That’s a lot.

Patricia Sands:

But it might seem counterintuitive to talk about skincare or depression or caregiver burnout, but actually it makes perfect sense-

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

It does.

Patricia Sands:

… with our product because it all comes together. Healthy eating, anxiety, stress. So, Molly being an RN and with the army with social work, I’ve taught the stress and anxiety and the healthy eating classes. And laughter’s the best medicine, so we have an assortment of things we talk about. So, that is also more exciting. You can always talk about the product as well, but we’re bringing Molly’s expertise to the table, as well as helping them educate and also feel not isolated and alone, that people have had those problems and they can still have a great quality of life.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yes, yes. You’re definitely not alone and I think humor goes a long way. I mean, especially if you’re a caregiver, even if you’re the person who needs a little extra help, I mean, at some point you got to laugh or you’re going to cry. [inaudible 00:16:50] Well, this is it for today. This is how we’re going to work this. And you can have some humor about all these things and without being crass. It’s definitely something that… And just thank goodness there’s products like this that can help all of us, help men, help the caregiver, help the person who’s trying to help the person who needs that. I mean, all those things. And then nurses, especially. I mean, I’m a nurse myself, and I can’t tell you, I mean, I can tell you, you have already heard this a thousand times, how many years we, as nurses, fought with trying not to spill pee-pee in the bed when somebody had to go to the bathroom and couldn’t get up, especially in the middle of the night, and they’ve had a big hip surgery, they’ve had knee replacement, they’ve had something else happen.

            They can’t get out of bed in the middle of the night, and maybe they’re the first day post-op and they’re not supposed to get out of bed for a few more hours. Urinals, of course, are a saving grace, but they’re also, like you said, you don’t want somebody laying in a spillage all night. So, that’s a whole nother set of activities. So, it goes on and on and on, and I know you’ve heard all the stories.

Patricia Sands:

It does. And each cleanup, the industry says that it’s between $3 and $11 each spill, and there’s just a quantum leap with facilities because everything’s cost-driven with the purchasers. And so having a $2 to $8 urinal when they spill all the time to one that is denser, high quality made that’s going to last a few years, it’s just getting that mindset where this is really going to save you money coming up. So, that’s one of our challenges is just to help with the workload and the supplies and most importantly, the dignity and the health of the patient.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Keeping everybody clean and happy, and not having to worry about stuff like that is helpful for everybody across the board, from the professionals, especially to the patient. So, yeah. Well, thank you. It’s amazing what you’re doing. Let me ask you a couple more questions. What piece of advice would you give to other senior care providers out there, or providers who maybe haven’t heard of your product? What advice would you give to them?

Patricia Sands:

I would say you have to absolutely believe in your product, in your service. Just, I mean, I can look at my product and be like, “I know this is going to be the standard of the industry,” and I’m behind it because this is not going to run on anybody’s energy but myself. There’s no magic bullet that’s going to get the big fish looking at it. I have to get out there and sell it, talk to people, get it going, and if you don’t believe in it, it’s not going to succeed. And to listen to your customers. Be extremely responsive to them. Because they’re going to tell you which direction you need to go. So, that would be some of the things that would be important to me to let… And also, I forgot to add freebies. What we do is Molly… I’ve taken care plans, assessments, and what we decided people might want is a health record book. So, we offer it free online-

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Oh, nice.

Patricia Sands:

… is to give things. Think beyond the box of what you can do with advice. Just don’t try to sell things. Try and help people with their whole situation. I forgot to add that. I’m sorry.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

No, that’s very nice. Yeah, because I think if you can establish a relationship with people online and they know that you’re a resource for many things, that’s always a good deal. Absolutely. And helping people get organized with their medical data, we can never do enough of that because when there’s an emergency, you’re out the door and everything is out of your brain. So, if there’s something you can quickly pick up and shove in your purse or your pocket or your wallet and have it with you in the event of emergency for you or a loved one, that is golden because the emergency room is, they are clueless unless you’re in their system and they have all your stuff and even then, they’re still going to ask you a million questions.

Patricia Sands:

You don’t even know what the baseline is. With my dad going in with that emergency, they had no idea he could have had plowed up the North 40, but now he couldn’t lift his left hand. and just having a baseline. But we put our best into that. It has everything an entry into a hospital or a nursing home would have. So, one and done, and then you can change the medications. It’s changeable. So, we really try to give a great service, not along just with the product. So, it’s to see what the needs are and to be part of that community.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Very good. Awesome. All right. When you have a win in life or business, how do you and your team, or you personally, like to celebrate?

Patricia Sands:

Well, I watched your other podcasts and I’ve decided I’m very boring.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

No, no, no. There’s a lot of, “Well, I don’t do enough of that,” and I totally get it. I don’t do enough of it either.

Patricia Sands:

Well, I think there was a common denominator with every success I’ve had him in life and I won’t demonstrate, but it’s always, “Aah!” and I do a happy dance. But we, at work, my whole team knows that this is a journey and some days there’s the happy dance and some days there’s a, “We got this, we got this.” Even with a setback, we just know that, “Ah, at least we know we’re not going to go that way so we saved some time.” So, I think it’s just gratitude. I guess I live in gratitude after my life with my husband dying and my dad having that stroke is, this has been a fun adventure. And you’re going to laugh, I shouldn’t have gotten this far and so I figure it’s going to go all the way. Because it’s just really needed, and we’ve priced it way below it’s worth. It competes with products that are about three times higher, and that was by intention because people that need our product can’t afford an expensive product. So, we wanted it to be the new industry standard, and so we’re going to work toward that.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Very good. That’s nice. And you know what? You were destined to go this far. So, there was something about your whole world that got you to this point and it will continue to help you. So, I think that’s amazing and I’m glad you’ve gone on this journey because if not you, then who would have done it? So, this is great. So, yeah, we’re all happy about your product and your service and the amount of work and time, and your whole family seems to be involved. So, it’s a testament to your sister and your daughter and all the people that are helping you.

Patricia Sands:

They’re amazing. We have an amazing team. I think my daughter wasn’t that happy about this when she was a teenager. Now she sees the worth on how one product can make a difference.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

Yeah, it’s something a teenager probably wouldn’t be too thrilled about, but hey, it pays the bills and that’s good too. All right. Okay. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show and for helping us understand more about what you do, your product. We’ll make sure all your links are with your video and we appreciate you coming on. So, thank you.

Patricia Sands:

Thank you so much. We’re honored to be here. I’m honored to be here and my whole team. I speak for all of us. Thank you.

Valerie VanBooven RN BSN:

All right. Thank you.