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PT and the Greater Good

Equipment Blues

Published January 22, 2014 3:48 PM by Dean Metz

When I worked in New York in home care, I would always revisit a patient for whom I had ordered any piece of equipment. I needed to ensure the right item had been delivered, was installed and/or adjusted correctly, and that the patient was using it correctly.

I would argue with many insurance care managers about these visits. They would argue that vendors were paid to perform these tasks. I wish I had a dime for every time I would find a raised toilet seat still in the box, a commode with unadjusted legs, or a tub rail hanging by a thread. Patients also came up with the most inventive ways of using equipment. My particular favorite was the woman who had a potted palm in her bedside commode.

Here in England, equipment is loaned free of charge from the local council and the patients return it when it's no longer needed. It is then refurbished, sanitized and put back into service. Things unfortunately don't run smoothly here either. Today I went to visit a client who resides in a care home; something similar to assisted living as there are no nurses on staff.

His walker was delivered along with a set of wheels. At first I thought it odd that the wheels were sitting on the resident's bureau and not on the walker. I then realized the frame had been refurbished and was an older model than the wheels, so they didn't match. After being on hold for a while, a nice person apologized and arranged matching wheels to be delivered in seven days. The resident is able to use the walker without wheels safely, but will appreciate how much energy he'll save once the wheels arrive and I revisit again.

On both sides of the "pond," so much waste could be eliminated if people just did what they said they were going to do!

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About this Blog


    Dean Metz
    Occupation: Staff Development Specialist
    Setting: New York, NY – Newcastle Upon Tyne, Great Britain
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