Using Durable Medical Equipment

It is important you fully understand how to correctly use durable medical equipment, especially if you are using this to support the needs of a loved one. This becomes more essential if the loved one has any cognitive disorders, such as dementia.

Durable medical equipment can make performing day-to-day tasks easier and safer. It can alleviate the need for caregivers to support or perform tasks, and can lessen their physical burden.

With this, it is important any use of durable medical equipment follow clinical and manufacturer’s guidelines. If the equipment is provided by a clinician, it is required either they or their team (discharge planners, social workers and nurse educators are examples) provide training and education to support your recovery. Your treatment plan will determine how long this equipment will be used for and what other supports may be needed in the future.

When choosing DME, you should review any accompanying literature and take advantage of any educational materials to learn how to properly set-up, use and maintain the equipment.

Common missteps in using durable medical equipment include:

  • Improper adjustment for height and weight
  • Improper setup of equipment
  • Improper use of equipment (e.g. using a rollator for leverage)
  • Choosing DME of low or questionable quality
  • Not reviewing literature or educational tools before use
  • Not considering functional condition in using the equipment day-to-day (e.g. grip strength)
  • Not taking advantage of accessories to lessen burden (e.g. storage baskets for walkers and knee rollers)
  • Not taking advantage of available tax incentives or deductions