Our non profit, REquipment Durable Medcial Equipment & Assistive Technology Reuse Program, Inc.refurbishes durable medical equipment and gives it away for free to people in Massachusetts that need it. One of our most requested and highest cost pieces to refurbish are power wheelchairs and scooters. We install new batteries in every chair before it leaves our facilities. People who receive our power wheelchairs include seniors, veterans, children with disabilities as well as adults with all types of paralyzing disabilities. They are generally low income and cannot afford the cost of new batteries, which can run up to $300/pair. Many people who use power wheelchairs do not have back up chairs as insurance will not cover them. So when their wheelchair breaks down and needs to be taken into the shop for repairs it means it could be gone for several weeks to several months. Without a back up they miss work, school, social life and are at risk of secondary health conditions such as pneumonia and possible hospitalizations.
Meet Sarah. Sarah was out to dinner one Sunday night in March when her power wheelchair died. Luckily she was with someone who assisted her in getting home. The next day Sarah called her wheelchair vendor and found out a technician wouldn't be available to come look at the chair for 7-10 days and if it had to have a major repair then it could be gone for 4-6 months. Sarah did not have a back up wheelchair. Staying in bed for weeks was not an option. Sarah was due to start a new job the following week and MA was in the midst of a hurricane. Sarah called us and she was able to select a power wheelchair that we refurbished from our online inventory. Due to the hurricane we were unable to deliver the chair right away but she did start her job the next week. Our power wheelchair enabled her to continue to work, get around in the community and maintain her health. With funding for batteries we can make more power wheelchairs available.
What our grantee is saying: "The REquipment Durable Medical Equipment Reuse Program is so grateful for this award to enable us to purchase batteries for 5-6 power wheelchairs to give people with disabilities independent mobility to pursue work, school and/or community activities. These refurbished power wheelchairs change people's lives!"
Funded by Disability (July 2018)