It is impractical for the student to bring some of the larger items of equipment which enable independent living, and unrealistic to expect the residential centre to provide it. This might include, for example equipment facilitating patient handling from wheelchair to bed or toilet, or a shower tray. Most can however be hired. One supplier of equipment which operates a hire service is Arjo Ltd., St Catherine St, Gloucester, GL1 2SL. Tel: 01452 50 60 50.
The British Red Cross operates a Medical Equipment Loan Service in some areas of the UK. This provides "on a short term basis, at times of personal crisis, a range of equipment to assist with mobility, personal care and independent living, for vulnerable people living in their own homes". Equipment is usually available within 24 hours in an emergency, and there are over 900 outlets around the British Isles. Students doing fieldwork might not at first sight seem to fit into this mission, but in practice the Red Cross do help those who need limited access to equipment in order to facilitate a visit to an area, for example for holidays, and fieldwork needs might also be treated sympathetically. The equipment which can be loaned includes wheelchairs, including transit, self-propelled and heavy-duty chairs (for people over 16 stones/102kg), commode chairs, various toilet and bathroom aids, and bed cradles and rests. In most areas, equipment is loaned free of charge. Some areas may make a nominal charge. The British Red Cross also offers its equipment loan service on a service agreement or contract basis to health authorities and social services departments. More information is available from the local Branch of the British Red Cross. Contact details of the nearest British Red Cross office can be found through the Where to find us section of their Web site.
Page updated 14 December 2001
GDN pages maintained by Phil Gravestock
© Geography Discipline Network/authors, 2001
ISBN: 1 86174 114 6