Welcome to our series on mobility. Here are some of the products and services available in our community that will make life easier as you struggle with the challange of being mobile when you have been injured or are ill.
Red Cross Health Equipment Loan Program helping hundreds in Ladysmith
Have you ever needed crutches or a cane? Or perhaps you know someone who used a walker or a wheelchair as they recovered from surgery? The Canadian Red Cross lends these items, and many more, to people in Ladysmith with a medical referral and a short-term need for health equipment.
“The walker, shower seat and bed assist we borrowed from Red Cross gave my dad the ability to get out of bed on his own and to get around without the fear of falling,” said Vicki Schoonbeek. “It was a big help in his final weeks before he passed away.”
Vicki was so convinced of the Health Equipment Loan Program’s value, the recent retiree was inspired to join as a volunteer in the Red Cross office at the Ladysmith Community Health Centre.
“People are so frazzled when they first come in. They have often just been through surgery or are caring for a loved one. It feels good to help make their lives a little easier,” added Vicki.
Red Cross volunteers have helped build and modernize the loan program previously operated by Kit Wilmot and the Ladysmith Healthcare Auxiliary.
“I love to be able to help people for the short-term. They don’t have to buy the equipment and then store it away when they’re done,” said fellow Ladysmith Red Cross Volunteer Judy Storey. “It can be returned, and cleaned and used again to help someone else.”
Judy said the program also gives people who are looking for a longer-term solution the chance to try equipment and make sure it fits their needs before they buy.
Demand is strong for the service, especially with Ladysmith’s aging population. In 2017, the local Canadian Red Cross office loaned 790 pieces of equipment to almost 520 people.
“If we didn’t have it in Ladysmith, people would have to go to Nanaimo or Duncan for Red Cross health equipment loans, so it’s nice to be able to assist closer to home,” said Ladysmith Red Cross Team Lead Brian Bradshaw.
The Canadian Red Cross Health Equipment Loan Program is available on call in Ladysmith at 250-245-9791. Volunteers can work with you to arrange pick up and drop off of equipment at the Community Health Centre. If you’re interested in volunteering with the Red Cross, you can ask for more information by emailing volunteer [at] redcross [dot] ca or by calling 1-844-818-2155.