Access to Mobility Devices
Mobility devices – manual and motorized wheelchairs – allow people to live, play and work independently and, for those with a permanent disability, should be considered a human right over their lifetime. The mobility device sector needs to change.
What needs to change?
The Ontario government needs to review and change the mobility device sector, with an aim to raise standards of practice and move toward a human rights model to improve access and independence.
Depending on your disability, wheelchairs can run from $5,000 to $25,000, with the base price being 40% cheaper in the USA. Ontario provides 75% of the cost of a chair, but there is a long application process involved and many Ontarians are struggling to cover the 25% on their own, creating a huge barrier to independence.
Industry customer service
People are not receiving the equipment they need in a timely fashion. Repairs and replacement parts take a very long time which puts the individual at risk, sometimes requiring extended bed rest simply because of the wait.
Range of devices offered in Ontario
Needs vary greatly and options are very limited, unless a device is on the Ontario Government Assistive Device Program (ADP) List for 75% subsidy. Devices under the ADP subsidy are approved under the current criteria of providing independence only within the home, leaving other needs unmet.
Inconsistent expertise and support
The expertise available to people is a regional lottery. There are not enough Ontario Government Assistive Device Program Authorizers capable of supporting complex conditions like spinal cord injuries.
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