Posted on March 1, 2021
Note: This article was originally featured in NRRTS DIRECTIONS, Vol 1 of 2021. A link to this article can be found at the bottom of this page.
Written by: LINDA NORTON, B.SC.OT, M.SC.CH, PH.D., OT REG. (ONT); MICHELLE HARVEY, BSC HONS OT; JASON KELLN, ATP/CRTS®; DON CLARKSON and MIKE LONGO
Recycling is often explored by funding agencies as a way of attempting to reduce costs and to prevent equipment from being thrown out before the end of its useful lifespan. In Canada, mobility device government funding programs differ between provinces, some of which include a recycling component. The intent of this article is to provide an overview of several government programs that include recycling mobility devices as a component and to describe several different approaches to recycling. A brief description of each program, eligibility criteria and key features has been provided along with links to additional resources
Funded through the Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health and Vancouver Island Health Authorities, MEPP is a formal equipment rental program for clients who need equipment at home and have no other source of funding. The available equipment includes wheelchairs, hospital beds, floor lifts, overhead lifts, bathroom safety and other durable medical equipment. The intention of the program is to ensure that access to equipment is not a barrier to discharge home and enables the client to remain safe at home. Recycling occurs through the Canadian Red Cross and approved vendors such as HMEBC, NSM and BC Mediquip.
This program is in its infancy, but speed of delivery is key allowing for faster discharges from hospitals. During the installation of lifts and floor to ceiling poles, a clinician is required to be present.
Funded by the British Colombia Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) through the At Home Program, the CMEDS is a pediatric equipment recycling pool. Established in 2017, the CMEDS recycles manual and tilt wheelchairs, power chairs, hospital beds, mobility equipment (such as walkers and standers), patient lifts, bathroom safety equipment, slings, therapy positioning devices and biomedical equipment. This provincial program is available to families with children, under the age of 18, who qualify for the At Home Program. An online resource center has been developed to assist families and clients with information on the program.
A vendor, HMEBC recycles the equipment. Key to the success of this program is to only keep product within the pool that is within the product liability guidelines to ensure the safety of the equipment. Some products such as transport vests, car seats, etc., cannot be recycled to the Canadian Safety standards, and are therefore not part of the recycling program. Custom products or products with various foams and certain material are tricky to recycle and require a wheelchair washer, as well as industrial steam and heat cleaners to prevent infection.
ALBERTA AIDS TO DAILY LIVING (AADL) PROGRAM
Funded through the Alberta government, the AADL program was established to assist Alberta residents with a long-term disability, chronic illness or terminal illness to maintain independence in their community by providing basic mobility devices. Clients must accept a recycled manual or power wheelchair if there is one available in the pool. Although seating is included in AADL benefits, seating is not recycled. AADL contracts with mobility device vendors to recycle the equipment. The AADL recycle pool is stored at various vendors locations. This means that recycled wheelchairs may be transferred from one vendor who stored the equipment, to the client’s vendor of choice. Vendors can submit a work order to AADL for refurbishing costs. When wheelchairs are no longer economical to repair or refurbish, they are used for parts or declared surplus.
SASKATCHEWAN ABILITIES COUNCIL — SPECIAL NEEDS EQUIPMENT www.saskabilities.ca/programs-services/daily-livingrehabilitationservices/special-needs-equipment
Funded through the Ministry of Health of the Government of Saskatchewan, this program provides residents, with a valid health card, access to a variety of medical devices. Medical devices available for loan include mobility devices (wheelchairs, walkers, cushions back supports, etc.) and environmental equipment (hospital beds, commodes, transfer poles, etc.). A health care provider requisitions the equipment on behalf of the client. Equipment is recycled through Five depots throughout the province by the Special Needs Equipment Branch. Note that the client, not the depot, is responsible for the installation of the device. Mobility devices available are listed in their manual and are limited to primarily two manufacturers.
MANITOBA WHEELCHAIR PROGRAM www.manitobapossible.ca/wheelchair-services
Funded through the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, the focus of the program is to meet the basic mobility needs of Manitobans who are active and living independently in the community. Administered through the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and a nonprofit agency called Manitoba Possible (on behalf of all Manitoba Regional Health Authorities), both new and recycled manual and power wheelchairs are provided. A recycled wheelchair is always the first option considered. Devices are prescribed by an occupational therapist or a physical therapist; however, a physician, nurse practitioner or registered nurse can prescribe a category 1 chair (basic folding wheelchair).
A listing of available equipment is provided and is limited to primarily two manufacturers. Seating components such as cushions and back supports are not covered by this program, and the client is responsible for any costs associated with these items.
ONTARIO: ASSISTIVE DEVICES PROGRAM, CENTRAL EQUIPMENT POOL (CEP) FOR HIGH TECHNOLOGY WHEELCHAIRS www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/adp/policies_ procedures_manuals/docs/mobility_devices_man.pdf
Through the Assistive Devices Program, the Ontario Ministry of Health provides funding for people with physical disabilities to increase their independence through access to various assistive devices including manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs and seating. A complete list of products available can be found here:
Within this program is the Central Equipment Pool operated by Motion (a vendor), which provides both new and recycled power wheelchairs where power tilt and/or power recline is a component. Recycled bases and power dynamic positioning components are always considered as the first option where they meet the prescription of the ADP authorizer (usually an occupational therapist or physical therapist). Prescribed seating components provided through the pool are always new. Equipment through the pool is provided at discounted prices, and a rebate is provided on the client portion when the equipment is returned to the pool for recycling.
Critical to this program is ensuring equipment is in recyclable condition prior to accepting it back into the pool. Skilled technicians who can refurbish high technology equipment and install new componentry ensures that the recycled equipment matches the authorizer’s prescription.
RÉGIE DE L’ASSURANCE MALADIE DU QUÉBEC (RAMQ) www.ramq.gouv.qc.ca/en
Funded through the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services, the RAMQ program is an overarching medical health insurance plan that monitors the remuneration of health professionals and facilitates access to health care for the citizens of the province of Quebec.
The mobility arm of the program funds manual and powered wheelchairs as well as scooters and pediatric strollers. Ambulation aids such as fixed and rolling walkers are funded as long as the client will use them for a one-year period. A full list of funded products covered by the program can be found at www.ramq. gouv.qc.ca/sites/default/files/documents/liste-atappareils-def-mot-mod-2020-07-13-en.pdf.
To access funding, the client must be insured under the Health Insurance Plan and have a physical impairment. There are additional eligibility criteria listed by device type.
In the province of Quebec with the RAMQ program, the role of the manufacturer is different than other areas of the country. The manufacturer representative works directly with the clinician and the client on the prescription and fit and finish to the mobility assessment.
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