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Do You Have a Backup Wheelchair?

By eanderson

March 19, 2018

This week Jen Baker, our program director, received a call from a woman on the North Shore. The woman was looking for a power wheelchair and said she needed it right away.  She had gone out to dinner with a friend the night before and while in the restaurant had turned off the power to her wheelchair. Getting ready to leave, she toggled it back on but to her surprise, no power! Needless to say, getting home wasn’t easy. (Most powerchairs weigh upwards of 150 pounds.)

The next morning she called her durable medical equipment (DME) company to have them come look at the wheelchair. They said it would be a week before they could come to assess it.  A week to come to assess it! They also said that if they had to take it back to the shop, it might take 4-6 months to repair. That’s right, 4 to 6 months! And they didn’t think they had a loaner chair to give her while hers was being repaired. Did I mention she is due to start a new job in one week? So having no backup chair and facing possibly months without her chair and no loaner, she contacted REquipment.  Luckily we have a power wheelchair that meets most of her needs in our inventory. Hopefully, she can get someone to pick it up this week so she can start her new job Monday.  If not, we will deliver next week.

A woman standing behind and leaning over a power wheelchair, looking at the camera.
Jen Baker with the power wheelchair

Think about your own situation; what would you do if the durable medical equipment you rely on was broken and unusable? Do you have a backup plan?  You could face weeks in bed and develop secondary health conditions such as blood clots, pneumonia, and pressure sores, putting you at risk for hospitalizations. What about work or school?  Can you take weeks off? Will your employer hold your job? Will you miss so many days of school that you fail the course or repeat the grade?

If you don’t have a backup plan, begin looking at our inventory and select equipment now before you need it.  REquipment is a DME re-use program offering free refurbished wheelchairs, scooters, shower chairs and more to adults, children and elders living in Massachusetts.

And if you’d like to help REquipment keep our community members mobile, consider making a financial donation to support our ongoing need for powerchair batteries. REquipment gets a steady supply of donated powerchairs that require new batteries to make a life-changing difference for someone’s independence.