It’s been almost four weeks since we last delivered DME due to the novel coronavirus outbreak. I’m writing to report that as of yesterday we are again making deliveries from our Worcester location. We are not yet accepting many donations, but we are making progress toward providing more services. Here’s how this is rolling out:
REquipment is an “essential service” – Yay!
Recently the state determined REquipment provides an “essential service” and can, therefore, remain open (our Worcester and Canton sites are in state-operated facilities). Since then, we have been scrambling to acquire Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff who clean/refurbish and deliver donated medical equipment. Currently, we do not have what we need to open our Amherst and Pittsfield sites, and since our Canton site is short-staffed, we are focusing our return to operations in Worcester.
As of April 8th, we are implementing new priorities. Deliveries of refurbished equipment will be prioritized over the pick-up of donations. We have a waiting list for over 80 devices that amassed while we were unable to access our inventory!
For delivery, we are serving individuals with the most urgent needs first. Priority one are people requesting wheelchairs or sling lifts for urgent health/safety issues or to effect discharge from a hospital or rehab setting. Next are requests for tub seats, shower chairs, rollators, etc. We are currently not delivering equipment for use in a classroom setting–as schools are closed–or any equipment for recreational purposes.
Rest assured, “clean” deliveries and “dirty” donations will not be carried in the van at the same time. Our vans will also be thoroughly cleaned when all deliveries for the day have been made.
Deliveries of equipment will only be accomplished on a “no contact” basis with receivers. Drivers will wear masks and gloves and cleaned equipment covered with a plastic bag. While establishing a delivery date and time, we will ask if there is a location such as a porch, deck or garage where the equipment may be left. People requesting DME must be home to retrieve it after our driver informs them it has been delivered. Receipt forms will be handled electronically.
When will donations be accepted?
Call us if you have a wheelchair, scooter, lift, or bathroom equipment to donate but don’t need it collected urgently. We will accept donations after we have completed delivery for everyone currently on our waiting list. We also must first acquire appropriate masks for equipment cleaners/refurbishers.
Our priority for picking up donated items will be to collect power and manual wheelchairs, scooters, and sling lifts first. Other donations will be accepted on an “as needed” basis only. All donations will be quarantined in an off-site storage container for 5-7 days. After that period, staff using appropriate PPE will begin assessing, refurbishing, and sanitizing equipment and then listing it on the inventory as available.
Know we are grateful
It was good news when the state of Massachusetts recognized the essential role we are playing to keep our neighbors safe and well and out of medical facilities needed for this crisis. We have been anguished to not be in a position to fill urgent needs: the woman whose husband has end-stage ALS and requires a sling lift to keep him safe and with her at home; the man stuck in the hospital waiting for his new power wheelchair in order to be discharged. Now we can address these needs and soon we hope to have the capacity to respond to urgent calls for donation pick-ups, as well. To those who need us in this way, please understand that while we cannot yet accept all donations, we are grateful for your gently-used DME, and we understand very well how collecting the equipment of a deceased loved-one and providing it an appropriate home can also be an urgent need. Thank you and know that we are holding you in the light (as the Quakers say).
Please continue to request our equipment through the online inventory at www.dmereuse.org.
Have access to masks? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.