Walkers, wheelchairs, other mobility & safety aids to be collected, refurbished, recycled and gifted to patients who cannot afford them
Virginia Beach, VA (December 2012) – They clutter attics and closets and are often practically new. Gently used walkers, wheelchairs, shower seats, power chairs, lift chairs and other durable medical equipment (DME) could be helping uninsured and underinsured patients avoid falls and injuries and lower healthcare costs.
The Roanoke-based FREE Foundation cut the ribbon today on a new distribution center at 828 Healthy Way in Virginia Beach off South Plaza Trail, to refurbish, sanitize and recycle DME in partnership with Sentara Healthcare and Goodwill Industries, which will receive donations at its stores and donation centers.
“We started to collect these items ourselves, but it’s too big a job to do alone,” says Valeria Mitchell, RN, trauma program manager at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital and president of FREE of South Hampton Roads. “The FREE Foundation offers the structure to distribute these devices to those in need in the entire community.”
Equipment closets are currently in place at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Sentara Obici Hospital in Suffolk and Bon Secours Maryview Medical Center in Portsmouth. Items can also be picked up by recipients at the FREE site.
Local grants help launch program in Hampton Roads
The Hampton Roads Community Foundation provided FREE with a grant of $45,000 over three years to help launch the program locally. The Sentara Health Foundation provided a $10,000 grant.
The FREE Foundation provided the new chapter with an automated, wheeled HUBSCRUB™ cleaning and infection control system for DME, using a grant from The Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative Trust Fund and support from the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services and the Virginia Assistive Technology Service.
“This program provides great value,” says Sonja Schaible, executive director of the FREE Foundation. “It provides independence to those who receive the equipment, it saves healthcare costs by reducing falls and injuries and it recycles these devices."
Through September of 2012, FREE in Virginia had provided 599 persons with 884 pieces of equipment.
“With the support of the community, we will be able to recruit and train an effective group of local volunteers,” says Valeria Mitchell. “We want every adult in the area who can’t afford these devices to be able to get them.” For information and to volunteer call 757-771-6183
Sentara Health Foundation
Hampton Roads Community Foundation
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