Did you know that the first known wheelchair was invented in 1595 for Phillip II of Spain by an unknown inventor? Or possibly that the first modern and practical respirator nicknamed the “iron lung” was invented by Harvard medical researchers Philip Drinker and Louis Agassiz Shaw in 1927. Supportive equipment has been around for a long time but most people don’t realize how many assistive devices have been invented to help people stay at home. Medical equipment is used in your home to aid you in a better quality of life. With people living much longer and wanting to stay in their own homes this plethora of equipment is made just for that reason. Did you know there are several types of equipment? We will discuss this briefly to help you get a better understanding.
DME – Durable Medical Equipment include some things like wheelchairs, walkers, iron lungs, oxygen concentrators, nebulizers, CPAP machines and hospital beds to name a few. These are usually covered by Medicare Part B with a physician’s script and diagnosis to show it is necessary for you.
HME – Home Medical Equipment includes things like toilet risers, bath benches, reachers, sippy cups, scoop plates and grab bars. Most often these are not covered by your insurance. The added benefit to you is worth more then the added cost. Lift chair motors are only covered by Medicare B with a doctors order, not the whole chair.
DMEPO’s – Durable Medical Prosthetics & Orthotics. These would include things like diabetic shoes and artificial limbs. These can be covered by Medicare B as well with a physicians order.
What about just using grandma’s old wheel chair. Though this can be handy, often ill fitting wheel chairs or walkers can be more of a safety hazard than help. Pressure wounds and/or falls can occur when equipment is not fitted correctly to you.
Don’t forget you can borrow or donate Medical Equipment at the various Medical Equipment Banks, 456-8810 in Thurston County, 426-7374 in Mason County.
Dave Brandt at Bellevue Health Care and Jacquey Poytress from CHS – Kirks Medical Services