Durable Medical Equipment

How Durable Medical Equipment Can Assist People With Impaired Mobility
Written by Nancy McMahon   
Durable medical equipment is used to provide additional support and care to patients outside of the hospital environment and is designed to support both temporary and permanent conditions.  Durable medical equipment ranges from inexpensive items that can be bought from any good healthcare supplier (offline or online) such as walking sticks, basic blood pressure monitors and back supports, through to expensive specialist equipment that needs to be prescribed by a healthcare professional such as prosthetics or dialysis machines. 

Durable medical equipment can offer a number of practical ways to support patients that are suffering from impaired mobility, whether this is a temporary affliction due to accident or post-surgery recovery, or a permanent condition resulting from a disability or ongoing illness.   Health insurance providers may be able to assist you with financing durable medical equipment and it is important that you check your policy carefully to see what you are entitled too.

Help for getting around

When you have mobility impairments even the simple process of getting around in your own home can become difficult and you may need round the clock assistance from a care giver.  There are a number of durable medical equipment products that can help you to move much more easily around your home, and these can give you a measure of independence and make normal, everyday tasks such as feeding your pets or going to the bathroom on your own much easier.  Grab rails and other lifting aids positioned at key areas around the home are ideal for those patients that are unsteady on their feet, and can assist people with difficulties rising from a sitting or prone position to get more easily out of bed and up from chairs. 

Motorized lifting equipment can also be useful for patients with severe mobility issues, and can assist care givers in lifting the patient in and out of bed, and can also be used to modify bathrooms so that washing and using the toilet is easier.  Wheelchairs and walkers are other key items of durable medical equipment that can assist patients to become more mobile and independent, and there are a number of different designs available to suit a whole range of disabilities and physical impairments.  There are also some specialist types of equipment available for helping mobility impaired patients to travel outside of the home more independently such as mobility scooters and also adapted bikes, which are basically three wheeled pushbikes (that can be foot or hand driven), which are ideal for helping to encourage young children with physical impairments to become more mobile.

Help around the home

Mobility impairments can make even simple, everyday tasks much more difficult and time consuming, but there are a many different types of durable medical equipment available that can assist with these tasks and make day-to-day life much easier such as:
  • Ramps – small steps between rooms can represent trip hazards and obstacles for patients with mobility impairments, but these can easily be modified with permanent or temporary ramps that come in all sizes, which can make the home much safer.
  • Motorized chairs – people who have recently undergone hip replacements or who have other problems standing up from a sitting position can benefit from motorized chairs, which gradually lift up to a more upright position, making it much easier for patients to stand up without any assistance.
  • Adjustable beds – physical impairments may mean that conventional beds are unsuitable, as you may not be able to lie down for long periods of time or find certain positions uncomfortable, and adjustable beds can be a practical solution allowing you to find a comfortable sleeping and resting position to suit your needs.

Where to get durable medical equipment

Specialist durable medical equipment such as prosthetics will have to be provided by your local hospital or healthcare provider, and they will also service these items for you and provide any replacements you need.  Other types of durable medical equipment such as walkers, crutches and wheelchairs can be sourced from any good medical suppliers and there are many different stores both online and offline stocking these kinds of products.  If you are claiming the costs of some or all of your durable medical equipment on your healthcare insurance then you will be restricted to using one of their , and this can make things more difficult as you will not be able to shop around to get the brand name you want (although most health insurers do use a range of suppliers and can meet most of your needs). 
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