Updated November 28, 2017

In a previous post we shared that we would be implementing a series of improvements to better serve people and families living with ALS in Ontario. One of the improvements we made was to our equipment program, which provides people with a range of items – mobility devices, lifts and transfers, bedroom equipment and bathroom items, for example – to respond to the increasing mobility limitations that come with an ALS diagnosis.

We strive to make the most of every donor dollar that helps to fund this program, and also to provide the best equipment possible to people and families living with ALS who depend on these items. After receiving feedback that our community wanted faster access to better-quality equipment, here is a summary of what you can now expect when making use of ALS Canada’s equipment program.

  • Improved service from ALS Canada staff: When your equipment request form is first submitted to us, you will receive a call from a member of our staff team who will introduce themselves, explain the role that ALS Canada plays in your journey, and ensure that the request submitted on your behalf is accurate. We will also call you a few days after your equipment is delivered to ensure it is meeting your needs.
  • Equipment requests that are more accurate and timely: Occupational Therapists (OTs) are professionals who help people live at home safely and independently, and they play an important role in the care a person living with ALS receives. For example, they help determine the equipment and accommodations best suited to an individual’s needs. OTs submit equipment request forms to ALS Canada on behalf of their clients, but it hasn’t always been clear what equipment ALS Canada has available that they could request for their clients. Working with OTs and equipment partners across the province, we have developed a catalogue of available equipment and made our request forms more intuitive, which means that OTs can be more specific in their requests and that ALS Canada can work with our equipment partners to deliver the right equipment to people faster.
  • A spending account for bathroom equipment: All people registered with the ALS Canada Equipment Program now have access to a $500 spending account for the following small bathroom equipment requests: shower chairs, tub transfer benches, versa frames and stationary commodes. Previously, these items were made available through our loan program, which resulted in extra time and costs associated with sanitizing the equipment, shipping it out and delivering it to clients. Introducing a spending account means that people will receive new items that they can select with their specific safety needs in mind. Gently used large bathroom items, like shower commodes and bath lifts, are still made available through the equipment loan program.
  • No additional delivery expenses: Unexpected charges associated with the delivery of loan equipment are a burden people shouldn’t have to deal with while struggling with the many challenges of an ALS diagnosis – but in some instances, this is exactly what was happening. We knew there was an opportunity to do better. Beginning in July 2017, ALS Canada started covering all costs associated with delivering loaned equipment. We now carefully determine when equipment should be repaired and when it should be replaced with a new piece of equipment that is of better quality and has more longevity.

Shelley, who is registered with ALS Canada notes: “ALS Canada has generously provided me with a power tilt chair, hospital bed, commode, ceiling lift and covered a portion of the cost of my power chair. However, I have occasionally needed to pay for the delivery and installation of the equipment, and these fees can be a bit high for someone who has a limited income or who is retired like I am. It’s a relief to hear that these charges will be covered in the future.”

Additional improvements are coming that respond to your feedback about ALS Canada support groups and the need for more frequent touchpoints with ALS Canada Regional Managers. Please continue to read this blog or follow us on Facebook or Twitter to stay up-to-date.

Within Ontario, ALS Canada has a role similar to that of the provincial ALS societies providing services and support to help meet the needs of people living with ALS.

Posted in: Support & Services