THE BLOG

Ask Elizabeth: Finding Mobility Aids for Stroke Survivors on a Budget

04/02/2013 04:42 EDT | Updated 06/02/2013 05:12 EDT

Coming home from the hospital following an illness or surgery can be overwhelming in an already stressful time and it's important to have a plan based on your needs. Who will help you recuperate at home? Is there anyone who can help you understand how to manage new medications?

Natalie Strouth is a nurse with Saint Elizabeth and the information specialist behind Ask Elizabeth, a free caregiver support service. Saint Elizabeth, a home health care company, has been a trusted name in Canadian health care for more than a century and is a national, not-for-profit, charitable organization.

In her weekly column, Natalie answers your questions about caring for a family member or friend who needs extra support -- and caring for yourself as a caregiver.

Do you have a question about caring for someone who is aging, ill, or injured? Send it toaskelizabeth@saintelizabeth.com

Maria asks: My husband had a stroke and is coming home from the hospital. I'm really worried about how we will afford everything the hospital has recommended for him to recover at home. How can I find equipment, like mobility aids, on a fixed budget?

Ensuring our family members are safe and independent is very important. I have received many inquiries through Ask Elizabeth from people who share your concerns and are looking for resources. The cost of purchasing and maintaining equipment like wheelchairs or bed rails can have a huge impact on families.

Many types of assistive and mobility equipment may improve your husband's safety and independence, including:

  • manual and power wheelchairs
  • canes, crutches and walkers
  • super poles, bed rails, bath benches and rails, raised toilet seats
  • patient floor lifts
  • electronic aids for daily living that assist with answering the phone, turning on the lights, opening and closing doors etc.
  • face-to-face communication devices for non-verbal adults

Fortunately, health care professionals involved with the purchase or rental of equipment understand the hardships you are facing. Doctors, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and equipment vendors are all great resources to assess your needs and make recommendations.

They are very knowledgeable about funding options and ways to make assistive device and mobility equipment accessible.

Your local health authority, the Ontario March of Dimes and the Red Cross may be able to offer further support and guidance.

Send your caregiving question to askelizabeth@saintelizabeth.com. Answers may appear in an upcoming weekly column.

Ask Elizabeth does not offer legal guidance, nor does it answer questions about personal health issues.