Nickel and diming home health care

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Bruce, shown here pranked by friends just before his hip surgery, learned that "up to 30 days" for the CCAC is at that organization's discretion, not the patient's.

Bruce, shown here pranked by friends just before his hip surgery, learned that “up to 30 days” for the CCAC is at that organization’s discretion, not the patient’s.

I have, for the most part, been extremely pleased with the support and care I’ve received while recovering from my hip surgeries.

Chatham Mazda from Chatham Voice on Vimeo.

Of special note is the physiotherapist who came to my home to monitor my progress and provide me with an increasing variety of exercises to help keep me on the road to repair.

Great guy.

He, through the help of the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) scored me a temporary wheeled walker, which was very useful.

A friend had also loaned me a walker, and it was vital in my first two and a half weeks of recovery. I couldn’t have managed without the traditional walker.

But I advanced to the use of a wheeled walker. It has two front wheels and two sliders so I could walk at a normal pace, resting enough weight on the walker so there was little or no pain in my surgically repaired hip.

It was awesome. But I wound up having to pay to have that awesomeness for a little while longer.

Here is some crucial information for folks who may eventually be in my predicament: Be well aware that “up to 30 days” in CCAC terms really should read “UP to 30 days.”

The physio dude came for my fourth and final home visit June 3, 23 days after my surgery. He was very happy with my progress and wanted me to be relying on a cane more and more, but advised me I should have the wheeled walker for another two weeks.

He was, unfortunately, wrong.

Two days after he left, I received a call from Motion Specialties, the place that rented walker to the CCAC, and a woman said they received an e-mail from CCAC personnel to cancel the walker rental. I explained there must have been a misunderstanding and that I would call the CCAC.

I did, only to be told that once the physiotherapist made his final visit, all rental equipment covered by the CCAC was rescinded.

I mentioned I thought it was good up until a month, as required. She said the “up to” was correct, but once the therapist signs off on completion of the visits, CCAC’s involvement ceases.

The Erie-St. Clair CCAC has 18 people in the sunshine club — 18 individuals who topped the $100,000 list in public sector salary earnings in 2014 — and it can’t afford to cover one or two extra week of a walker’s rental for patients recovering from hip surgery?

I figure for peace of mind, one more week would be all I’d need.

My plan was to send the walker back that afternoon. But Motion Specialties’ Linda, with the wonderful southern accent, hooked me up. She rented the walker to me at half price, meaning I could have it up to two more weeks.

Deal.

I am fortunate, as I’m healing pretty quickly. That isn’t the case for others. My advice to folks who may find themselves in a similar predicament is to push that last physiotherapy visit off as long as possible if you have CCAC-supplied rental equipment. Make sure that “up to 30 days” gets as close to 30 days as it can.

That leaves you with another issue, however, as you are delaying important therapy. We focused on climbing one short step, leading with my healing leg. Then some other step-related tests, including how much weight the healing hip could take. I was up to about 75%-80%.

But the key element was the final assessment. He wanted to see how well I got out of a kitchen chair and walked about a dozen feet over to him while using just a cane.

You’ll have to balance the physio need with the financial need if you have rental equipment covered temporarily by the CCAC.

Check the rental rates with wherever the CCAC gets your equipment to see what you can expect when CCAC so gleefully turns off the assistance tap.

For me, it wasn’t the price, but the unexpectedness of it all.

I began using my cane June 1, when I went to the office for a few hours. I use it exclusively when I leave the house, be it to go into the backyard, or to a medical appointment, or to work. Short walks.

The walker is great inside the home, especially when I get tired. I hope I am done with it by the time you read this column, but am glad I have it as backup in case I still need it.

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