Return of mobility aids sought
A project to increase the number of free available mobility aids such as wheelchairs and walkers has resumed in Cape Breton and expanded to Antigonish and Guysborough counties.
The Canadian Red Cross and Nova Scotia Health Authority have partnered to continue the pilot project that began two years ago. It offers mobility aids for free as a temporary loan to the public.
A small amount of additional funding has allowed for a resumption of the program and expansion to all areas covered by the health authority’s eastern zone, which includes Antigonish, Cape Breton, Guysborough, Inverness, Richmond and Victoria counties.
Under a six-month pilot project, people were encouraged in late 2015 to return borrowed items or to donate reusable mobility devices to the Red Cross. If unable to deliver them to the Red Cross office in Sydney, the organization arranged pickup by its volunteers.
The pilot resulted in 83 items valued at more than $11,000 being collected, increasing the inventory available for others to use. But sometime not everything comes back.
“Some mobility and safety devices we’ve loaned free of charge are not returned for a variety of reasons, one being that the borrower simply lacks the means to do so,” said Judy Hynes MacNeil, Nova Scotia manager of the Red Cross’ health equipment loan program or HELP.
To return a loaned item, request a pickup or discuss an equipment donation, the public can contact the Red Cross between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, 1140 Upper Prince St., Sydney, or 902-5644114. The Canadian Red Cross offers short-term loans of standard wheelchairs, walkers, canes, crutches, commodes, raised toilet sets, bath-transfer benches, shower seats, bath and bed safety rails, rollators, reachers, versa frames and other mobility aids to those recovering from illness, injury or surgery or in palliative care.
There’s no charge, but a written referral from a health-care professional specifying the equipment needed is required. The Red Cross also accepts financial donations to defray costs.
Mobility devices in good working condition but no longer needed can also be donated and may qualify for a tax receipt.
All returned or donated items are assessed for suitable reuse and undergo a rigorous program of maintenance, cleaning and disinfection.