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REquipment Logo“Paying it forward” is an old concept of doing a good deed or giving charitably to others without acclaim. It is this concept that was revitalized by the symbolic ribbon cutting of the new ‘REquipment’ Center in Worcester.

The REquipment Center advances personal and professional success through independence and self-sufficiency.

Part of the Commonwealth’s initiative to Maximize Assistive Technology (AT) in Consumer’s Hands, or MassMATCH, the new REquipment Center provides free, refurbished durable medical equipment (DME), such as power wheelchairs, mechanical lifts, and other items to seniors, adults, and children with disabilities in central Massachusetts.

The Need:

State Representative Bruce J. Ayers addresses the crowd at the ribbon cutting of the new ‘REquipment’ Center in Worcester.

State Representative Bruce J. Ayers addresses the crowd at the ribbon cutting of the new ‘REquipment’ Center in Worcester.

Massachusetts disability statistics show that over 171,000 residents between the ages of 18-64 living in the community have an ambulatory disability. Of those, an estimated 85,000 individuals are wheelchair or scooter users.

Most of these residents do not have a back-up wheelchair if theirs breaks and needs repair. The reuse program assists all levels of mobile device users, including frequent consumers, residents with chronic or newly acquired disabilities, people with limited insurance coverage, people being discharged from hospitals or have a temporary need, veterans, and seniors who do not have the proper equipment to get into their living quarters, eat, bathe, or sleep — just to name a few examples.

“I’ve waited for this day for a while. As a small business owner, I’ve made vehicles accessible for years. Today, I am eager to listen and learn, and bring back to the State House how to expand this program.”

– State Representative Bruce J. Ayers

The Donation:

HHS Secretary Polanowicz tours the new ‘REquipment’ Center in Worcester.

HHS Secretary Polanowicz tours the new ‘REquipment’ Center in Worcester.

The ‘REquipment’ program picks up donated items, sanitizes, repairs and delivers them to residents in need.

The program accepts gently used manual and power chairs, sling lifts, rollators, shower chairs, portable ramps, and other types of durable medical equipment. At the REquipments Center, all contributions are cleaned and repaired to ensure they are safe and fully functional and then posted into an online inventory at www.dmeREquipment.org.

 

“From January 2014 to October 2014 the [REquipment] program has collected 81 devices and has refurbished, cleaned and reassigned 54 devices – that’s 67%. Most requested items are manual wheelchairs; second are shower/bath equipment, and third are power wheelchairs.”

– Commissioner Charles Carr, MRC

The Independence:

Photo Oct 22, 11 13 30 AM

A consumer shares her experience at the ribbon cutting of the new ‘REquipment’ Center in Worcester.

Once residents receive their requested device, an entirely different world opens up for them – a world of access and independence.

Peter L’Orange identifies himself as a person who uses a guide dog. As his abilities changed over time, he found that it was becoming more difficult to walk his dog. So he contacted the ‘REquipment’ program for a manual chair, which was delivered to his home and enhanced his life and functionality.

Another user, Janet Beal described her life as a person who is blind and the challenges she faced with steadiness. She fell a couple of times and with her most recent tumble broke her ankle. So she contacted the ‘REquipment’ program to learn about her options to regain her stability. After speaking with staff she, received a power wheelchair which gave her flexibility and independence as she recovered.

Charlie Croteau was so inspired by his experience of accepting a device and regaining his independence, he is now planning to create wheelchairs that make terrains that are traditionally are difficult for wheels more accessible. Some of his ideas include a beach wheelchair and a 4-wheel drive chair that “will go where no chair has gone before.”

The Center:

HHS Secretary Polanowicz share remarks at the ribbon cutting of the new ‘REquipment’ Center in Worcester.

HHS Secretary Polanowicz share remarks at the ribbon cutting of the new ‘REquipment’ Center in Worcester.

During a ribbon-cutting celebration of the new REquipment Center, HHS Secretary John Polanowicz spoke to an audience of over 75 attendees about the ways this durable medical reuse programs help Massachusetts residents.  The diverse crowd of government officials, employees, consumers, and advocates were touched by the notion of recycling: an act which both provides fulfillment and independence for recipients, while supporting environmental initiatives.

The REquipment Cener is the only program of its kind and is collaborating statewide to meet the needs in every area of the Commonwealth, through partnerships with the Boston Home, MA Rehabilitation Commission, MA Department of Developmental Services, MA Department of Public Health (the Hospital School) and the REequipment Center’s many community-based reuse program providers.

During a tour of the reuse facility Secretary Polanowicz noted that a key success of this program is, “the idea of giving back to a community of folks who know and value the importance of having such equipment and how it will impact their lives.”

For information about donating or requesting devices, or to learn more about the program, please visit www.dmeREquipment.org or call 617-204-3626. Interested individuals can view the available inventory and contact the program regarding their needs. If the item is not available online individuals should still contact the program for more information.

Written By:


Communications Director, Executive Office of Health and Human Services

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