Durable Medical Equipment

Also known as home medical equipment, durable medical equipment is a category of devices designed for home use and intended to help patients achieve a better quality of life. The term “durable” alludes to the fact that such devices can withstand repeated use by both patients and caregivers, regardless of whether they are trained healthcare professionals. Examples of durable medical equipment include iron lungs, oxygen tents, hospital beds, catheters, wheelchairs, walkers, patient lifts, power chairs, crutches, and elevated toilet seats. This type of equipment is usually covered by a patient’s insurance, including Medicare. Once a patient receives a prescription for a device, the patient takes the prescription to a supplier. Such companies keep most common items in stock and can typically fill the prescription very quickly. They also can provide setup and instructions for use, although patients should note that Internet suppliers may not provide these services. Physical and occupational therapists can assist in training patients to use home medical equipment and can design therapy and home exercise programs around these devices to ensure the patient reaches and/or maintains the best possible level of function. Therapists also can provide education about durable medical equipment to patients’ families or caregivers.