Benefits of wheelchairs
Most people have no idea that a custom wheelchair has over 60,000 possible configurations. All adjustments need to be set correctly to make the chair roll easily and to be comfortable for the resident. Making some adjustments often throws others off, which if not corrected makes a chair harder to roll. At MCC, we spend many hours on brainstorming chair ordering, shop set-up, and further hours on-site to configure a wheelchair in the very best manner to make it fit & roll the best for the client's size and shape, and to make them as comfortable as we can. We are able to help a facility reduce restraints, pressure sores, and falls, not only by wheelchairs that are more comfortable for the resident (so they're not trying to get out of the chair), but by an amazing record of achieving independent mobility for 80% of our custom wheelchair clients*. This is because 1) we know how to configure chairs to make them roll easier, and 2) we are willing to spend the time to do it.
For the 20% of clients we cannot make independently mobile, our chair set-up makes them much easier for caregivers/staff to push. (Back injuries are costly.)
It is very easy for vendors to pull wheelchairs out of boxes and deliver them. They make a lot more money because they don't have to train or pay their techs to set them up properly. Those wheelchairs are like you or me trying to drive a car without an adjustable seat. It may fit you, it may not. If you couldn't change it, in most cases you would not be happy or comfortable, especially if you had to sit in that seat and try to drive for up to 8 hours per day. And if the seat was bolt upright and perfectly flat and your back hurt, you would be very grumpy and want to get out. If you wouldn't reach the pedal you wouldn't be going anywhere. And if the tires weren't balanced and aligned, you would be having all kinds of other issues as well.
It takes time and many hours of hard work for MCC to work our "magic in a facility, to transition the residents to better seating, and to organize and systemize a facility's mobility equipment. But the potential benefits are huge. Immeasurable. It's like a factory. It's only as good as its equipment. And there is probably no single larger volume of daily-used equipment in an LTCF than wheelchairs.
In recognition of the health & financial benefits of properly-fitted custom wheelchairs not only to the user and caregiver but to the provincial OHIP budget and ultimately the taxpayers, the Ontario government has an ADP funding program in place for custom wheelchairs. It's a goldmine for facilities to tap into, to help them upgrade the equipment their staff use most of all. Many facilities are not getting the benefit of this government funding like they could be. MCC helps facilities leverage this funding to their advantage, tens of thousands of dollars of funding that doesn't even come out of their budgets. It can be invaluable to them and the OHIP if used wisely. If not, it's like throwing away taxpayers money. Increased falls, injuries, and pressure sores are expensive for OHIP and facilities. Besides, what resident deserves to sit in pain all day and/or unable to go anywhere by themselves? What resident deserves a pressure sore or a fall? Our parents or grandparents? You or us in 20 years?
It's exciting to watch the transformation of grouchy residents to smiling happy residents because their pain is gone, and (80% of the time) they can go where they want to. Happier residents make a huge difference in staff time, morale, and physical safety. Among other benefits, this leads to potential decreased WCB claims, less staff turnover, less overtime, happier families, extra money in facility budgets, and a happier atmosphere in the whole facility. Our passion is transforming facilities and lives. Administrators, staff, residents. Let us do it for your facility.
*From data taken from 2014 MCC custom wheelchair sales.
**Note: MCC services can be split billed, so they can be fitted into existing budgets such as nursing, which will subsequently directly benefit exponentially from decreased wound care, or payroll, which will benefit from decreased overtime, etc.