Re­turn of mo­bil­ity aids sought

Cape Breton Post - - Cape Breton -

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.

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