The other day I was asked by the children of an elderly parent to review an advertisement for a used wheelchair.
Mom was using a transport model almost full time now and there were expressed concerns for her comfort and skin condition. They had found a chair with a specialized cushion and tilt option, on a local general buy and sell website, and thought it may be a good option for purchase.
The ad copy read like the descriptors of a luxury automobile and for a moment I thought the wording belonged to a different item. The affiliated cost made me catch my breath. It represented about fifty percent of the original purchase cost.
Before they made their decision, I queried whether they were aware of the Assistive Devices Program (ADP) offered by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term care.
This was an avenue that the family was unfamiliar with, and hence had not investigated prior to perusing the Internet.
As we explored the options with the Elder and her children, the goals were:
To have mom properly assessed for her changing medical condition by her physician
To find the best care options to potentially improve strength and mobility
To determine the best seating option to protect her skin, provide comfort and support, using a qualified health care provider
What is the Assistive Devices Program (ADP) ?
Any resident of Ontario with a physical disability that is a long-term health condition, may potentially be able to access funding assistance to aid in the purchase of a personal assistive device. It is hoped that this purchase will contribute to quality of life by allowing for more independent living.
This is an Ontario program and the applicant must be in possession of a valid health card.
The device must be required for at least six months and there are rules and eligibility requirements that need to be adhered to so as to be considered for the program.
In many cases the Assistive Devices program will pay for up to 75% of the approved costs of the equipment. There is no income test or income reporting to be eligible for this program.
Programs under the ADP are varied and some have different funding. It is essential to investigate what criteria is required BEFORE you make a purchase.
There may be circumstances where a fixed amount of assistance is available (Hearing aids) or where a grant is paid directly to the applicant.
There are forms to be completed by specific health care practitioners and the rules regarding the program are extremely specific.
Be an informed consumer before you make a purchase and review the protocol to potentially access funding.
Items that may be accessible:
This is not an all-inclusive list of possible items that may have funding assistance; but it does provide an idea of the numerous opportunities
Communication Devices: Voice magnifiers, communication boards etc.
Diabetic Supplies: Insulin pumps, syringes etc.
Enteral feeding Equipment/Supplies: Feeding bags, containers, tubes etc.
Hearing devices: Aids, cochlear implant replacement speech processors etc.
Orthotic Devices: Limb braces, splints etc.
Ostomy Supplies: Colostomy equipment: see annual grant monies
Pressure modification devices: Compression garments etc.
Prosthetic Devices: Breast prosthesis, artificial eye etc.
Respiratory Supplies and Equipment: Sleep apnea (CPAP machines), suction machines, etc . also oxygen coverage may be up to 100%
Visual Aids: Audio book playback machines, braillers etc.
Wheelchairs, Positioning devices and ambulation aids: Manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs, wheeled walkers etc.
How to proceed:
* Seek medical advice for your condition or health concern and if equipment is required ask your medical practitioner about the ADP program
* Access the appropriate fact sheet about the device in question and the Assistive Devices Program Funding information as it applies to the item
* Read about the assessment process required to determine eligibility
* Ask for a referral to the care provider (there may be a cost for assessment) who is responsible for the product reviewed
Purchases made without following the government protocol will not meet the program requirements.
For more information about this program, any affiliated costs for assessments and processes contact your local care provider or:
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Assistive Devices Program
Toronto 416-327-8804 Toll-free 1-800-268-6021 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
In spite of all efforts there are times when an individual does not qualify for funding, or even with the assistance provided a new purchase remains cost prohibitive. There may be other forms of aid in your community: one option is to call Service Canada 1-800-277-9914 or www.servicecanada.gc.ca for advice. Check the related government fact sheets for other suggestions if a purchase is not manageable.
Getting back to the family that initiated this blog: Their parent has been seen by their family physician and as a result physiotherapy has been initiated.
An Occupational therapist has become involved to provide further assessment, and to insure if a purchase of equipment is required, that the Elder receives the right equipment, and any financial support available.