Adaptive Equipment can make living at home easier, safer, and enhance independence for persons with varying physical needs. Not all adaptive equipment is covered by insurance, so, before you invest in costly apparatus, it is helpful to be clear about the problem that you want to solve and determine which devices will best resolve the situation…
and then shop around.
We encourage you to ask your Physical Therapist (PT) or Occupational Therapist (OT) for recommendations before you purchase anything. They will know what is best suited for your family member’s individual needs. For example, when selecting wheelchair devices, a PT or OT can help to determine:
- Special considerations for patient weakness and positioning (tilting, raising up, standing)?
- What design or accessories are needed to carry equipment and supplies?
- Will the wheels need to move easily over bumps and other obstacles in the environment?
- Should it be power driven or manual?
- Is the patient capable of driving it accurately and safely?
- Is the patient often alone or have a strong desire to be independent?
What is Durable Medical Equipment (DME)
Durable medical equipment is any equipment deemed medically necessary, that is used in the home to aid in a better quality of living. Most basic adaptive equipment, such as walkers / wheelchairs / canes / shower benches, etc…would not be needed if the medical condition were not present. They are called durable because they can withstand repeated use.
DME can be purchased through chain stores such as Walgreens or Rite Aide. These stores usually carry a very limited selection in stock, so it is better to view their on-line equipment choices. Amazon also has a broad range of products. A good local medical equipment supplier will typically have the best selection of equipment and replacement parts in stock. When making big purchases such as electric wheelchairs, or lifts, it is good to go to the store and test the various devices for fit and ease of use before making the purchase.
San Mateo Medical Market on 53, 43rd Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94403 has a large selection of equipment. Their staff has limited ability to assist with selection, so it’s best to have a good idea of what you need from your PT or OT before shopping. Bring a list with their recommendations to get started.
One specialty website with quick delivery and good customer service is North Coast Medical. They have a great selection of aids for daily living and durable medical equipment.
Loaned Adaptive Equipment:
You may not need to purchase equipment if you live in San Mateo county. The Center for Independence for Individuals with Disabilities has an equipment exchange program (CID Reuse Program). This is an excellent option for equipment if you only have a short term need, or while waiting for insurance approval or funding.
Also for residents of Half Moon Bay, the Coastside Adult Day Health Center has a limited number of small devices to loan, such as canes, walker, etc.
Having the right set of assistive devices can make a huge difference in the quality of life for those struggling with impairments.
In our next blog, we will take a look at Home Modifications and questions you should ask your contractor before safety modifications are made.