Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP) closes doors of its Clearwater location

Clients now forced to travel to Kamloops or 100 Mile House for closest alternate location

Clearwater’s Health Equipment Loan Program (HELP) depot has been closed, forcing clients of the service to travel to Kamloops or 100 Mile House for the closest alternate location.

A sign hung on the door at the 85 Clearwater Station Rd. location said as of June 24, PG Surg-Med will be providing services in Clearwater for Interior Health Authority referrals.

“I have no idea (what this will mean) for people who don’t have anyone to help them to get this kind of equipment before surgery or don’t have the funds to drive to Kamloops,” said Barb Hall, former volunteer team lead at the Clearwater location.

“It’s really sad. I feel really bad about it.”

Health equipment loan program grateful for the help

Hall volunteered with the HELP depot for 10 years and was one of seven volunteers who helped out with the service.

As the name suggests, the HELP program provided health equipment by loaning it out to patients with advanced short-term loans of advanced equipment like hospital beds and patient lifts as well as long-term loans for those with long-term illness who don’t have the money needed to buy or rent medical equipment.

“If somebody goes for surgery they often need five or six pieces of expensive equipment, or somebody who happens to be at home and needs a commode and there was no fee for the rental, it was all by donation,” Hall said.

“It’s just a sad day for the community. Think of all the seniors, we’re 55 per cent seniors in this community and many of them are needing surgery and now they’ll have to go to Kamloops; it was a great thing they did, having it here as long as they did.”

Jenn Houtby, manager of communications for Red Cross B.C. and Yukon, said the reason for closing the Clearwater location is because the organization recently signed what’s called the Medical Equipment Provision Program agreement with the province of B.C. and that saw a need to adjust operational requirements.

“It was an operational decision and we now have 28 locations throughout the Interior,” said Houtby.

“There isn’t a significant change in service, but what we have identified is most individuals, particularly those who used the Clearwater location, would be receiving their surgery, generally speaking, in Kamloops and perhaps Vernon, and in most cases those folks actually pick up equipment prior to leaving post surgery, for example.”

Regarding those who need HELP services before surgery, Houtby said, “That may be the case, I couldn’t speak to any individual circumstances, but generally speaking even if someone is awaiting surgery or maybe is ill, if they were from a small community they would very likely be receiving treatment in a larger centre; we do have more than 28 locations in the Interior Health Region so there are lots of opportunities for folks to seek that equipment from other locations if needed.”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

New outdoor market sets up in Clearwater

Vendor fees to be donated to Clearwater and District Food Bank

Volunteering helps communities function

“You need to be at the table and help make decisions, but also do the work. Put your money where your mouth is.”

North Thompson Community foundation spreads the wealth

Funds will be used by recipients for various operations and programs

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

Clearwater food bank receives donation from tree planting group

Dynamic Reforestation out of Williams Lake donated $1,400 in light of International Hunger Day

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

‘Alarmed’: Health critic calls for more data on COVID-19 in trucking industry

Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec said that level of detail is not being collected

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

‘Great Regional Air Hug’ being organized by the Vanderhoof International Airshow Society

A multi-aircraft flyover over the region is being planned for August 15.

Most Read