Citizens With Disabilities - Ontario


City Of Ottawa 'Essential Services' Refusing To Purchase Second Hand Medical Equipment!

One has to wonder how at a time when the City of Ottawa is claiming that they don't have money for some programs that they somehow have lots of money to spare to buy "new" medical equipment for persons with disabilities such as hospital beds, commodes, bath benches, mechanical lifts etcinstead of purchasing second hand equipment.

Community Advocate Catherine Gardner says she is extremely frustrated that the Province's Assistive Devices Program and the City of Ottawa's Essential Services Program's policy state that they will only purchase new equipment yet both the Province (Ontario Disability Support Program) and the City of Ottawa Essential Services will pay for repairs on second hand equipment!

The Province keeps saying they are working to keep people in their own homes yet they will not provide funding for the equipment needed to do so such as hospital beds, commodes (portable toilets), bath benches, mechanical lifts etc. The City of Ottawa Essential Services will provide funding for the above items but will only purchase new!

Ottawa is fortunate to have STRIDE Assistance for the Disabled, a not for profit organization run by volunteers which provides limited funding to persons with disabilities who fall through the cracks when trying to access medical and or mobility devices. These devices are needed in order to provide the person with dignity and quality of life.

In 1993, STRIDE Assistance for the Disabled extended their services to include an umbrella program "STRIDE Wheelchair Plus Recycling Depot where donated medical / mobility equipment is taken in, stripped down, cleaned and broken or missing parts are replaced prior to the item being rented and or sold at a low cost.

Ottawa is also fortunate to have a number of Organizations who are trying to operate loaning cupboards!

Gardner, says one has to wonder why it is that the City of Ottawa will fund new equipment yet does not ask for the equipment back when it is no longer needed! In some cases the equipment may be less than a few months old and is no longer needed due to the person going into long term care or where the person has passed away.

In some cases the equipment such as hospital beds, commodes, bath benches etc which are ending up at STRIDE may have been fully funded by the City and or the Province (wheelchairs). Gardner says that she has rescued perfectly good equipment in roadside garbage.

A new hospital bed for example could cost the City of Ottawa thousands of dollars yet they could get one in perfectly good condition for about a third of the price and it could even be one that they the City has already paid for!

Gardner one of a number of volunteers at the STRIDE Wheelchair Plus Recycling Depot states that they have so much equipment now, that they are having to turn people away who are wanting to donate. One caller told Gardner that if we could not take the power chair they wanted to donate that the caller could be forced to put it in the garbage!

One has to wonder why it is that the City of Ottawa Essential and the Province do not run an equipment loaning cupboard instead of spending tax payer's money on equipment which could end up in the garbage! Both levels of government talk about recycling and budgets but tend to forget it when it comes to assisting persons with disabilities and saving money!

Catherine Gardner

Community Advocate / Freelance Photojournalist

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