Medical donationsPatti Svien knows they're out there.
By: Jen Cullen, The Republican Eagle
What: Medical equipment loan program
Where: Red Wing Senior Center
What's needed: Wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes, shower chairs and other equipment
To donate: Drop items off at the senior center, 1407 W. Fourth St., from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday
Patti Svien knows they're out there.
Pieces of medical equipment people once relied on but no longer use.
"I have a vision of people's basements filled with this stuff collecting dust," said Svien, a Lake City physical therapist.
Svien wants to find that equipment a new home - at least temporarily.
She's partnering with the Red Wing Senior Center to set up a loan program to provide gently used medical equipment to people during a period of convalescence or short-term disability.
Svien is looking for wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes, bath and shower chairs, commodes, toilet safety rails, grab bars and portable bed rails.
Devices like sock aids, reachers, long handled shoehorns or adaptive eating equipment also will be accepted.
Equipment must be clean and in good working condition. Sanitation, minor repairs and safety checks will be done before the equipment is loaned out.
"I know what obstacles there are for some people to obtain equipment," said Svien, a physical therapist for 30 years. "We want to put this stuff to good use."
Svien got the idea for the project while going back to school to upgrade her bachelor's degree.
She and her classmates were told to plan a community outreach project. Svien was familiar with Goodwill's medical donation program so she contacted officials at the Rochester location to get more information.
After finding out from senior center officials they were interested in offering such a program, Svien decided to turn her plan into reality.
"We definitely saw a need for this," said Robin Wipperling, Red Wing Senior Center program director.
The equipment will be available to loan for up to three months.
Svien said a short-term program works better because the equipment is usuable but not custom-made or fitted to someone who may need it for long periods of time.
"We're a large enough community," she said. "Let's try this out. Let's see what we can do."