Equipment Replacement

Whether you used the resources at GF Strong to order your initial equipment, there will come a time when new or replacement equipment is needed. At that time, you may have developed a good working relationship with a retailer of Durable Medical Equipment. You may also be seeing a health care professional regularly. Both of these contacts can help you in your task of ordering equipment.

Equipment Ordering Process 

Delivery of a high-end wheelchair routinely takes 6 to 8 weeks. It is wise to start the process well before you will become dependent on the equipment being ordered.

Identify Funding 

On completion of this task you should have a list of the funding sources that the client is known to qualify for. The list should include:

  • Contact name
  • Phone
  • Fax
  • Eligibility criteria for all sources
  • A list of the equipment covered
  • A copy of the application form

Estimate Cost of Equipment 

Initially, a rough estimate is needed to establish whether the available funding is adequate. If you are applying for funding, send a letter to the funder explaining that you are looking at buying a piece of equipment. (e.g., I want to confirm eligibility for funding of a manual wheelchair which will cost about $X.xx).

Create an Equipment Performance Profile

Assess your needs, physical, psychosocial and environmental. Develop a set of criteria that defines the appropriate piece of equipment. (e.g., the equipment must be available in 48" height must weigh less than 3lbs and be suitable for use on thick carpet.) Take into account the good and bad points about your existing equipment. At this point it is a good idea to have clinician help in the process.

Selecting a Durable Medical Equipment Dealer

Your Durable Medical Equipment (DME) retailer is your only voice to the manufacturer of your chosen equipment. They can help guide you in selection, provide support and routine maintenance. 

The ideal dealer varies depending on your needs. If you have good upper extremity function and have mechanical aptitude you may not need to pay for a high level of dealer support. If you rely heavily on your equipment it might be worth your while to pay a premium to work with a dealer that offers 24/7 service and loan replacement items.

Buying equipment in this field is much like buying a car. When doing so consider price, reliability, warranty, appearance, track record and how you feel about it. You are a consumer and should feel comfortable that the dealer you choose is going to provide you with the best service, both while you are trying to decide what you need and after you have chosen to buy a piece of equipment.

Unlike a car most Durable Medical Equipment (DME) needs frequent adjusting and servicing. Your changing needs may result in a need to modify your equipment. Also, it is often difficult to get good service from sources other than the original supplier. The dealer is your main resource in getting satisfactory performance from your equipment and will become your primary advocate in any dealings with the manufacturer.

Your Occupational Therapist or Physiotherapist can provide you with a list of dealers and their phone numbers, or you can visit our Retail Durable Medical Equipment page for more information. Keep track of different dealer's responses and then compare to find who best meets your needs.

Demo Equipment 

This is crucial for second time equipment purchases since people grow to fit their old equipment. Even something that theoretically is superior to your existing equipment may not allow you to perform a task crucial to your quality of life.

Review Application Process

Review funders' application process and forward requests to funders. Ensure that all supporting documentation is submitted with the spec nd quote ask them to confirm with you when the equipment has been ordered

Monitor the Process 

After the Funder confirms the order, call the retailer to establish a promised delivery date and confirm that they received approval to get the item.

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