Last April when Sharron Clayton climbed up on a chair to change a light bulb in her apartment, she ended up changing her life – and not in a good way. After a serious fall, multiple surgeries and finding out just how hard it is to access healthcare services in the Bancroft area, a commode chair ended up being her symbol of hope.
Months later, Clayton is still recovering from her injury and she says that without amazing friends, family and some assistive devices, she could not have survived.
When Clayton was finally discharged home from the hospital, without any homecare supports, she realized that she could not function in her apartment. She could not stand nor could she walk and there was no way she was getting into her bathroom. A call was made to Hospice North Hastings to their Medical Equipment Loan Cupboard and a medical equipment order was immediately put together. With a commode chair, Clayton could stay in her own home.
You can hear the upset in her voice as she describes having to depend on friends and family to empty the commode for her, but Clayton had no choice. There was no one else to do it.
“This gave me some independence,” Clayton says. “I got lost in the shuffle and had a few little things that I could do something with. I was able to live on my own with these tools.”
Clayton also received a walker that eventually let her get into her kitchen where she could make toast and coffee and a bath bench she received is still being used as she slowly recovers from her accident.
Clayton’s recovery is not just physical, being injured and unable to work has taken a financial toll. The medical equipment that Clayton borrowed would have been expensive if she had to purchase it new and tracking down used items on the internet, from a hospital bed, would have been impossible.
“My Mom and Dad knew about the program at Hospice,” Clayton says. “Thank goodness.”
Hospice North Hastings operates the Medical Equipment Loan Cupboard as a free program that is available for anyone in North Hastings that has a need. At any given time, there are hundreds of pieces of equipment in the community being used by people who have had an accident, who are recovering from surgery or who are living at home with a serious illness. And the program goes beyond commodes, walkers and wheelchairs. There are bed pads, Ensure, adult briefs, hospital gowns, wedges, sheep skins and lots of other bits and pieces that have been donated to Hospice.
Bonnie Jackson is the office manager at Hospice North Hastings and she is constantly working to maintain the equipment and fill new orders. It’s a big job but she’s happy that she and her team are able to provide comfort and support at a difficult time in someone’s life and she really wants everyone to know about the program.
“I’m always telling people about the program,” Jackson says. “It’s here for everyone to use.”
If there is a need, Jackson asks for a call to the office at 613.332.8014 and she’ll get the order ready as soon as she can. Jackson also asks that if you know of someone in need that you tell them about the free program.
And for those like Clayton who get lost in the shuffle, she says it made a big difference.
“This saved me,” she says.