Durable Medical Equipment

Types Of Durable Medical Equipment Available
Written by Nancy McMahon   
Durable medical equipment is a term that covers a diverse range of apparatus that has been designed to assist patients suffering from illnesses or injuries which restrict their normal mobility and function, and can help people to lead much more normal lives without such a heavy reliance on help from family and care givers.  There are many different types of durable medical equipment available from simple tools such as ramps that can assist wheelchairs users to access steps and vehicles through to highly specialist devices such as hearing aids and breathing apparatus, and many of these can significantly improve the quality of life for patients and offer them ways in which they can be more mobile and independent.

Drug administration

Many patients will need to take medication regularly in order to manage their condition and there are various durable medical equipment products available which can assist with this task in the home and make drug administration much quicker and easier.
  • Nebulizers – this device is used to administer medication to patients in the form of a mist, which is then inhaled straight into the lungs and is commonly used in the treatment of respiratory conditions such as asthma, (COPD) and also cystic fibrosis.  Nebulizers used compressed air or ultrasonic power to disperse medicine that is held in a solution/suspension into tiny droplets, which can then penetrate the very narrow branches of the lower airways in the lungs.  Without these mobile, hand held pieces of equipment patients suffering from respiratory conditions would not be able to administer drugs quickly and effectively without medical assistance, especially in emergency situations such as severe asthma attacks.
  • Insulin inhalers – this medical device has been developed to assist diabetes sufferers to manage their conditions much more easily and eliminates the need for insulin injections, which can be difficult to administer when travelling and can cause problems such as lipohypertrophy, which is when lumpy areas form under the skin due to repeated injections.

Mobility

There are a number of different types of durable medical equipment available to assist those patients with restricted mobility, from items such as canes, walkers and wheelchairs that can help you to get around through to devices that can make everyday tasks in the home much easier:
  • Customized beds – patients with mobility problems can find it difficult getting in and out of bed, or may find conventional beds unsuitable for their condition, and you can buy a number of different types of customized beds that can be adapted to suit your individual needs.  Automated hospital style beds are available which can either be manually or electronic lifted in sections to provide a gentle rise to seating position or elevation for the legs, and also trapeze equipment is available to assist patients with lifting and moving themselves from a bed to a chair with minimum assistance.
  • Lifts – there are various lift devices available to assist carers in lifting patients with severe mobility impairments and these can be hydraulic or electronically operated and provide essential assistance around the home.  Stair lifts are also available which can help those with mobility issues to get up and down stairs and steep steps safely.
  • Wheelchairs – wheelchairs can be customized these days to provide mobility for all different kinds of physical impairments, and can even be designed for various sports and activities that require additional speed or agility such as basketball and racing.  Wheelchairs can be both manually and electronically operated and offer a high degree of independence, and modern advances in wheelchair design have also seen new, much more versatile chairs being developed that can traverse steps and stairs, and rough, uneven terrain.

General care and patient aid

There are also an number of general items of durable medical equipment that can be used around the home to provide ongoing support for patients, from simple items such as handrails to assist safe movement when rising out of chairs or moving around the home, through to commodes and bathroom safety apparatus:
  • Catheters – some medical conditions and treatments can leave patients unable to maintain normal urinary processes, but catheters can be inserted into the bladder to allow drainage of urine, which prevents the need for medical assistance every time the patient needs to pass water.  Catheters must be inserted by a healthcare professional, but they can remain in place for a certain period of time leaving the patient free to move around without worrying about bladder function.  Catheters can also be used to drain other fluids from the body and to administration intravenous fluids or medications
 
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