James Consolidated, Inc., a California Corporation, is the manufacturer of the VÖLKNER® TURNING SYSTEM, specializing in support surfaces for the prevention and treatment of pressure sores, aiding with pulmonary function, and reducing sleep deprivation. The Corporate Office is located in the City of Walnut Creek, California, USA, part of the San Francisco Bay Area. The manufacturing plant is located a few miles away in the City of Concord, also in the Bay Area. James Consolidated was formed and incorporated in 1983.
Principal Company Officers
Ingrid James, President and CEO, is a native of Germany, where she held management positions in the textile industry. She lived and studied in England before coming to the United States. After receiving her Masters in Public Health from CAL, she became a visiting registered nurse caring for patients in San Francisco, Oakland and Alameda. After retiring as a nurse, she began importing Dr. VÖLKNER'S Lamella Turning System, then began manufacturing it as the VÖLKNER® TURNING SYSTEM in 1993.
BSN, Berea College
MPH, University of California at Berkeley
Brian James, Executive Vice President and CFO, was born in Brisbane, Australia. He has held management positions in Australia and England. He was a Professor of Economics for twenty-two years in California. In 1972, he and his wife Ingrid, started their own company which was incorporated in 1983 as James Consolidated, Inc.
BA, Berea College
MS, University of Tennessee
Ph.D., Western Colorado University
In 1987 the Jameses received a brochure from a relative involved with medical equipment in Germany. It showed an innovative, patented, powered mattress overlay designed by Dr. med. Helmut Völkner, a German physician, for the prevention and treatment of pressure sores.
The system automatically turned the patient every 4, 5, or 6 minutes, and eliminated the need for manual turning except for wound treatment, bowel programs and personal care.
The unit consisted of a double row of air cells, side by side, divided in the center to provide pressure relief along the central axis of the body. Two air hoses connected the air cells to a control unit containing micro-processors and an air pump. The air cells were enclosed in a foam-filled vinyl cover. It was lightweight, modular, and portable. The patient was positioned on the unit on his/her back on the center of the unit. The patented design kept any pressure from being exerted on the patient's spine. Each side of air cells was then alternately inflated and deflated, turning the patient gently from side to side up to 30 degrees.
When this equipment was introduced in Germany in 1984 at the Inventor’s Exhibition in Nürnberg, it was awarded the Gold Medal for the best invention in its category.
Ingrid James had been a public health nurse in the San Francisco Bay Area. Some of the patients she visited in their homes were bedridden and immobile. They had to be turned every two hours to prevent pressure sores. In many cases the patients were elderly, and the caregiver in the home was the equally elderly husband or wife.
The result of this two-hourly turning requirement, continuing throughout the day and night, was that the care-giver as well as the patient, would become “worn out” due to sleep deprivation and exhaustion from the demands of caring for the invalid.
Ingrid James realized that if the VÖLKNER® TURNING SYSTEM was made available in the United States it would be a tremendous boon to immobile patients and their care-givers. As a result, the Board of Directors of James Consolidated, Inc., decided to investigate the effectiveness of this unit with the possibility of the company distributing the equipment in the USA.
For this purpose, Ingrid James went to Germany to meet with Dr. Völkner, the project engineer, and the manufacturer. More importantly, she visited hospitals, nursing homes and private homes where the units were being used. She met with physicians, nurses, patients, and families to hear what they thought of the equipment. The response from everybody was enthusiastic and very positive as to the effectiveness of this device.
Consequently, the equipment was introduced to the USA for clinical testing in 1987, followed by active marketing in 1989 with James Consolidated, Inc., as the importer and exclusive distributor for North America.
The equipment, then named Dr. Völkner's Lamellar Turning Bed (literal translation of the German title), was immediately very successful, with rentals, leases and sales being made to private parties and insurance companies. Clinical tests of the System evaluated it as one of the most efficient units of its type on the market. In fact, it was rated “superior” in effectiveness to more expensive specialty beds and mattresses designed for the same purpose. After successfully testing several units at its Hines, Illinois, Rehabilitation Hospital, the Veterans Administration awarded a contract in 1991 to James Consolidated, Inc., to supply the equipment to VA hospitals and GSA facilities. The equipment was also approved for Medicare and Medicaid patients.
After years of successfully importing and distributing the VÖLKNER® TURNING SYSTEM, James Consolidated, Inc., decided to manufacture the “mattress overlay” in the USA. The design was slightly modified and US patents were granted in 1995 and 1998.