Breaking barriers: equipment

My name is Raux, and I have a disability. This is the 7th in a weekly series about living with a disability in a community like Cranbrook

My name is Raux, and I have a disability. This is the seventh in a weekly series about living with a disability in a community like Cranbrook.

What to do with equipment you no longer need? Some providers will supply equipment for the lifetime of the user and require it to be returned when you no longer need it. As for the equipment you’ve purchased you can sell it, donate it to a loan service or give it away.

Loan Services: The Red Cross and other services have equipment available for temporary use; this is helpful for visitors as well. The Red Cross does require a referral from a health care professional to acquire equipment.

Sell or Donate: Occasionally equipment will come available in the classified ads; this can include lifts, recliners, hospital beds and wheelchairs. If the previous owner decides not to sell their equipment it will typically be donated to a loan service.

Recycle: Unfortunately there is no recycle program for gently used items. Whenever possible, I will re-home my equipment; I don’t want to profit or have someone charged for something they really need. Anyone with health issues knows this is a lifetime investment so anytime I can pass things down, I will without reservation, as long as the equipment is clean, safe and in good working condition.

Facilities: I’ve often wondered what becomes of the patient’s equipment in long-term care facilities; do the families sell, donate or leave it with the facility? If they leave it with the facility does it get distributed amongst the patients that could benefit from it or is it gathering dust in a closet while people purchase new equipment for short-term use thus completing the cycle?

Purchasing: If you are in the market for equipment an occupational and physiotherapist can work with you to assess your needs and support requirements. They will also accompany you to a retailer to test the equipment to ensure it is the right equipment for you.

If you decide to forgo a therapist’s guidance for more basic items then shop around and do your research to make sure you are paying a fair price and that the equipment will work for your intended purpose. An example is grabber sticks: some have a two-prong claw and others have more of an opposable thumb, some can’t support anything heavier than a remote or the tips are awkward for picking up things with rounded edges or anything small.

The right piece of equipment or technology can be a huge help. Sometimes you can even repurpose common items to suit your needs; for example, a drumstick is great for reaching buttons in elevators, etc.

Sincerely, Raux