Red Cross provides HELP
The mission of the Canadian Red Cross is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada and around the world. One of the ways they do this locally, and with the support of funding from the United Way of Thunder Bay, is through their Home Equipment Loan Program (HELP). This program provides daily living and mobility aids to people recovering from illness/ injury or living with terminal illness, and also loans assistive devices to seniors on fixed incomes who are recuperating from illness/surgery, allowing them to stay in their own homes and keep their independence with dignity and a better quality of life. HELP offers short-term affordable rentals of medical equipment, including: Bath Chairs and Stools, Bath Transfer Benches, Canes, Commodes (No wheels), and Commode Buckets, Crutches, Wheelchairs, Raised Toilet Seat , and Reachers.
There are numerous stories of individuals who would not be released from hospital unless they were provided a safe environment in their home. Among them are Gerald and Alice, an elderly couple on a small, fixed income that had no mode of transportation. Alice had recently suffered a fall and had to be admitted to the hospital to be treated. She had stayed in for some time and was recovering well, so much so that her doctor had finally given her the OK to leave. The couple we relieved and overjoyed that she would be ok and they could return to their home together at last. There was only one problem; the Hospital would release Gerald’s wife into his care and send her home, but only if she had the proper safety equipment waiting for her. The elderly couple did not already have the equipment Alice needed, nor did they know where to purchase it on short notice and with their tight budget. Thankfully Gerald had heard that the local Red Cross had a program that could help in situations like theirs.
It was Good Friday when the Red Cross Program Coordinator’s phone rang. Gerald was desperate to have his dear wife back safely in their home and had called the office right away. The Coordinator took down all of the information and then spoke with the hospital’s physical therapist, who faxed in the equipment loan request. The Red Cross was able to bring a wheelchair to the hospital on Saturday morning, and then deliver the rest of the order which included a tub transfer bench, bed rail, raised toilet seat and a commode, to them that afternoon. Alice was able to safely return home in time to spend Easter with her family, and the couple was able to do this in an affordable and dignified way.
The United Way of Thunder Bay is addressing social issues in our community and investing in 3 critical areas: moving people from poverty to possibility; fostering a strong community; helping kids to be all they can be. Your donations are improving lives for local people like Gerald and Alice every day. By donating to the 2014 United Way campaign you can support the Home Equipment Loan Program (HELP) and 62 other local programs in our community. To learn more about programs supported by the United Way and how you can make a difference by giving, please go to www.uwaytbay.ca or call 623-6420 today.
The Canadian Red Cross is located at 1145 Barton Street and can be reached by calling 623-3073.