As an #OT, trying to find DME for patients can be a challenge - check out this list! | #geriatricOT #occupationaltherapy

Where OTs Find FREE DME (or a Smokin’ Deal) for Patients

In an ideal world, all of our patients would be able to get all the adaptive equipment and durable medical equipment that they need and get it paid for. This, of course, is not the reality and many occupational therapy practitioners end up scrambling around to find DME that our patients can afford and help with their independence and safety in daily living.

I typically recommend all OT's have a handout of local places that patients and their families can either get DME for free, at a low price or purchase. The list would include phone numbers and the websites of all the businesses that they can contact (or for you to contact if you are helping!) for easy reference.

As an #OT, trying to find DME for patients can be a challenge - check out this list! | #geriatricOT #occupationaltherapy

Many times this information is very location specific, but here is a starting point of groups to look into or help spur some creative thinking on how we can get some of this equipment our patients

Free and Discounted DME

Facebook: If you check out your local "Swap" group, many times, patient's/families can request a donation of used bedside commodes, shower chairs, etc or even search for items that people are donating. Here is an example of my local Facebook Swap where I see DME all the time: FB Roaring Fork Swap

Loan Closets: Many communities have loan closets, but the trick is figuring out where to find them! Here are a few examples of places to contact to see if they loan DME for free or a small fee:

  • Social Clubs: Elks Club, Eagles, Moose Lodge, VFW, American Legion Auxiliary, VFW, Lions
  • Hospice Organizations
  • Senior Centers
  • Churches This is an online classified advertisement website. Under the "For Sale" section on the site, there is both a "Free" tab, where you might be able to find some DME or find a good deal on some equipment under the "For Sale" section.

There is also a "Wanted" tab that may be worth putting out feelers for any durable medical equipment that a patient may need. Started by a physical therapist, this website lets people post durable medical equipment they want to get rid of, as well as lets people post what types of equipment they are looking for - many more options in bigger cities. This is a website that is all about connecting people that are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and neighborhoods, including DME.

Thrift Stores: Many shops have a special section in their stores just for DME.

Local Newspapers: There is usually a section in the classifieds labeled, "Medical Equipment," that is worth looking into.

As an #OT, trying to find DME for patients can be a challenge - check out this list! | #geriatricOT #occupationaltherapyNon-Profit Organizations and Foundations: There are a number of these groups that can help either financially or by providing free, long term loans of DME. A few of these include:

State Funded Programs

 Where have you found free or discounted DME for patients?

Looking for more OT treatment ideas, education videos, clinical resources, patient handouts, assessments and support? Check out the Learning Lab membership and join today!



Comments 10

  1. I work as an Assistive Technology Professional at a regional medical equipment company and run into this problem a lot. Especially as deductibles and copays are increasing on most health insurance plans! I am in a more rural area and I see a lot of this type of equipment being sold at yard sales, estate sales, and even flea markets which are still plentiful around here. For those without internet, our local convenience stores also have “Ad Bulletin” magazines where people can place free ads for this type of equipment. This is even a problem for people who want to give away their old equipment. When my patients receive new equipment, many of them also tell me they have trouble finding somewhere for their old equipment even if it is in good shape. Since I deal primarily with custom manual and power wheelchairs, shipping them is not really an option either. Frustrating!

  2. There are a few more alternatives for Utahns: the CReATE reutilization program takes used mobility equipment, refurbishes it and transfers it back to people who need it, often for the cost of an insurance deductible or lower. Two assistive technology labs work with clients to customize equipment for their particular needs. And the Utah Assistive Technology Foundation helps people with disabilities afford the technology they need. You can find information about all of them at

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  3. Our (large) church offered us several items when my dad broke his leg. It’s always worth asking, both for patients and clinicians. If the church itself doesn’t store equipment, they might know who has it but doesn’t need it anymore.

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