When I was going through treatment for breast cancer, I was able to access home health care services through the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC). There were a few times my husband had to call and have a nurse come out to the house to administer additional anti-nausea meds, and to treat me for dehydration. Each time they showed up at our house, they brought supplies…lots of them…boxes full…syringes, needles, alcohol wipes, saline solution, Sharps disposal containers for used needles.
At the end of my treatments, I had barely used any of the supplies. I called CCAC and the home care service companies they contract and no one would take the unused supplies even if they were unopened and still in sealed packages. I understand it’s for healthy and safety reasons, but still if they are sealed, would it not be okay?
So they sat in our bedroom for a good year after I was done my treatments. I didn’t want to throw them away. What a waste that would be. I finally got the number of Doctors Without Borders. They took the supplies to use in third world countries. I was glad they were going to good use.
It made me stop and think if I had all these unused medical supplies, then probably most CCAC clients have a similar stockpile of supplies. I understand the thought process behind the health care providers bringing more than they need…better safe than sorry…and not having to lug around supplies every time they visit a client.
My sister works for CCAC as a Care Coordinator. I hear about all the cutbacks due to funding shortages. Where budget cuts always seem to hit the front line workers the hardest making it difficult to service the ever-growing population of people who require home care. It seems to me there are dollars to be saved on medical supplies. I realize that medical supplies is probably not a huge line item in their budget but still it adds up. There must be a better way to dispense supplies so there is less waste.
Here is a CBC News article from November 2016 on this very topic - Unused medical supplies piling up in Eastern Ontario patients’ homes. Click on: Jean-Marc Poey is surrounded by some of the unused medical supplies that crowd his Rockland, Ont. condo. (Simon Gardner/CBC)
The CCAC is soon to be taken over by the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs). Will they do a better job of controlling the medical supplies? Hmmm…time will tell…
In the meantime, if you have unused and unopened medical supplies that you no longer need, here are a few organizations that will take them off your hands and put them to good use.
If you know of any other organizations that accept donations of unused medical supplies, please add them in the comments and I will update this list.
Updates to the List:
- Local Animal Shelters and Wild Bird Centres
- For the Needy Not the Greedy
- CACHA (Canada Africa Community Health Alliance)
Colleen Kanna is a breast cancer champion and creator of coKANna designs, a line of bamboo knit, Canadian-made adaptive clothing for women touched by breast cancer.