After surgery, many people need a little equipment assistance to get back on their feet, literally. They can turn to the Red Cross Loan Cupboard for equipment aids and all their items are loaned out free of charge.
Charlie Robertson remembers, after he suffered a stroke, the assistance he received through the loans cupboard.
Now with almost five years as a volunteer with the Red Cross in the Quesnel loans cupboard he’s happy to be helping others.
“When I found out the loans cupboard needed volunteers, I was happy to help out because I knew it was a good service,” Robertson said.
The process is simple. People get a referral from their health care professional and bring it to the loans cupboard in the old wing of the hospital, right next to the physiotherapy department. There’s a simple form to fill out, then a volunteer makes sure its adjusted and meets the needs of the client.
“The initial loan is for three months but that can be extended should they need it longer,” Robertson said.
The compact room houses a wide range of equipment and thanks to a generous Community Foundation grant, the office now has much-needed shelving.
All the equipment from wheel chairs, to walkers, to bath aids and more are in clean, operational condition with most being purchased new but Robertson said they accept donations of equipment when families no longer need them.
“We don’t have anything motorized though,” he added.
Within the hospital the physiotherapy and home care departments have a partnership with the loans cupboard to provide their patients with the equipment they require.
“It makes you feel good to help people in their recovery,” Robertson said.
“We see so many knee and hip replacements patients and they come back and tell us how much the equipment helped them recover.”
Quesnel’s Red Cross Loans Cupboard has seen a 12 per cent increase in the number of clients served and the equipment loaned out.
In 2014-2015, 873 pieces of equipment were loaned out to 592 clients.
Volunteers have logged more than 800 hours annually in service to the loans cupboard.
When asked about unusually requests, Robertson remembers a fellow looking for a massage bed.
“He’d had eye surgery and needed to lie on his stomach on the bed for as much as 18 hours a day for three weeks,” Robertson said.
“Unfortunately, we couldn’t help him.”
Another time one of the street actors in Barkerville broke his ankle and needed a wheelchair.
“Although we couldn’t supply a period-correct wooden wheelchair, we were able to provide a wheelchair for him.”
One item Robertson said they’re frequently asked about is a cart for oxygen equipment.
“But we just don’t have them,” he said.
Sometimes the loans cupboard is asked about temporary loans for out-of-town visitors, especially when they plan to attend local events and can’t walk for any great distances or need aids in their guest’s homes. Robertson said that’s doable.
However, Robertson would like to remind the public to return the equipment they are loaned.
“Even if its been a long time, we need this equipment for others to borrow,” he said.
“So just drop it off.”
And if you have a couple of hours to spare during the week, consider volunteering with this worthwhile organization. Drop by the loans cupboard and fill out an application or call 250-991-7565.
The Red Cross Loans Cupboard is open 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at the south entrance of the hospital, beside the physiotherapy department.
Robertson also mentioned the loans cupboard is run on donations and the public is encouraged to give as generously as they are able. The office is also a drop off for any international donations to the Red Cross work around the world.