August 8, 2023
REquipment is proud to learn that our gently used, durable home medical equipment is supporting the mission of Louison House in North Adams, Massachusetts. Louison House provides unhoused neighbors and those facing housing insecurity with creative housing solutions and “innovative special services” (says the Louison House website). Those services include tapping our equipment inventory for their shelter residents.
“When I know we have a resident coming who needs something, I start looking on your website right away,” says Maureen Clark, Resident Services Director for the Louison House Transitional Housing Shelter. “I also keep my ear out for equipment to donate back.”
Last year, this informal partnership had a profound effect on the lives and well-being of three community members in the northern Berkshires. The residents arrived at the shelter with an acute need for durable medical equipment, and all three left with their needs met, thanks to REquipment and Maureen’s diligence.
“One gentleman, a proud southern man,” Maureen recalls, was at first too proud to use the manual wheelchair she obtained for him though his need for it was obvious. He grudgingly accepted the chair but “kind of fought with himself about it” while he stayed at Louison House. Now, Maureen says, she sees him with it all over town. “Which is good because he’d always been a social butterfly,” she laughs.
The chair, put simply, gave him back to himself.
Another resident, a long-time chair user who’d had multiple strokes, arrived at Louison House with his manual wheelchair in shambles. “The tires were worn, the seat was falling apart, handles coming off. His need was dire.” Keeping an eye on our inventory, Maureen obtained him his first-ever power wheelchair. “It put less stress on his hands and restored his mobility, which meant he didn’t have to rely on his PCA worker for everything. That chair did what it needed to do.”
The third resident was a woman who had not yet used powered mobility equipment though she has MS, diabetes, and a seizure disorder. Concerned, Maureen acted quickly when she saw a scooter appear in REquipment’s inventory. Maureen knows we only get a handful of power scooters donated each year and that they go quickly. She also understands the positive impact a scooter could have on a woman with progressive MS.
“Now she lives where there are sidewalks, and if she wants, she can get over to the sub shop and get a sandwich and over to the social security office because that’s a local office. She is very happy and appreciative,” Maureen emphasizes.
On its website, Louison House lists Compassion, Respect, and Empowerment among its core values. These are values we’ve long understood to be furthered by DME reuse.
We asked Maureen, “What has REquipment meant for your program?”
She responded simply, “Dignity. Independence. And hope.”
Learn more about REquipment at dmereuse.org.