Corn­wall man de­nied new elec­tric wheelchair

Seaway News - - News - NICK SEEBRUCH ni­

CORN­WALL, On­tario - Corn­wall res­i­dent Robert Car­riere wants a new elec­tric wheelchair and some an­swers. Car­riere has a bad heart, COPD and has lost a leg. He is con­fined to a wheelchair, but says that the Cham­plain Lo­cal Area Health Net­work (LHIN) de­nied his re­quest for a new elec­tric wheelchair.

Car­riere, 70, says that he has not been given a good rea­son as to why he will not be get­ting a new chair.

“They say I can do too much, but I’m lost with­out my chair,” he said.

Car­riere cur­rently has an elec­tric wheelchair, but he says that the has had it in­spected by paramedics who say that the en­gine is fail­ing. He does not want to take the risk of be­ing out in his old elec­tric wheelchair and have it fail on him.

“The chair is mak­ing a lot of noise,” said Car­riere. “All the CCAC would do was buy me two new bat­ter­ies.”

CCAC, the Com­mu­nity Care Ac­cess Cen­tre in Corn­wall was taken over by the Cham­plain LHIN one year ago.

“The Cham­plain LHIN takes client con­cerns very se­ri­ously,” the LHIN said in an emailed state­ment to Corn­wall Se­away News. “While we do not dis­cuss in­di­vid­ual cases out of re­spect for pa­tient con­fi­den­tial­ity, we have a ro­bust process in place to re­spond to con­cerns and com­plaints. More in­for­ma­tion on our com­plaints process can be found on our pub­lic web­site.”

The LHIN went on to say that it can only pro­vide equip­ment un­der cer­tain cir­cum­stances and on a lim­ited ba­sis.

“The LHIN can pro­vide equip­ment un­der cer­tain cir­cum­stances on a short-term ba­sis to pa­tients re­ceiv­ing LHIN home care ser­vices,” the LHIN said. “El­i­gi­ble pa­tients must be re­ceiv­ing, or have been re­ferred to, at least one pro­fes­sional ser­vice, such as nurs­ing, phys­io­ther­apy or oc­cu­pa­tional ther­apy.”

There are pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment pro­grams that Car­riere has looked into to see if he could get fund­ing for a new chair, but the On­tario As­sis­tive De­vices Pro­gram only cov­ers 75 per­cent of the to­tal cost of the de­vice, leav­ing the pa­tient to pay for the re­main­ing 25 per­cent. Car­riere said that elec­tric wheelchairs cost up­wards of $10,000 and that it is too much for him to af­ford even 25 per­cent of the cost on his pen­sion.

Car­riere says that the chair is an im­por­tant part of his life as he still tries to re­main in­de­pen­dent and ac­tive. He said that he would use his chair to travel to the clinic when he needed to and that he still likes to go fish­ing dur­ing the sum­mer.

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