The Daniels Fund, a Denver-based grant-making organization, recently awarded the Craig Foundation a $358,615 grant to help patients afford durable medical equipment and to upgrade rehabilitative equipment at Craig Hospital.
Of the grant, $125,000 is designated to Project EQL. This donor-supported Craig Foundation fund ensures that every Craig patient returns home with the fundamental adaptive equipment needed to maximize overall function, health, and life quality, regardless of the patient’s financial or insurance status.
From the time of admission, Craig's patient care teams are thinking ahead about the adaptive equipment that patients and their families will need at discharge. In recent years, the cost of durable medical equipment like wheelchairs, hospital beds, lifts, and bathroom accessibility equipment has increased, even as insurance coverage for these items has contracted. For those with catastrophic injuries, the consequences are profound, as these items are essential for life quality and independence.
When Craig’s clinical care managers discover that a patient’s insurance, family resources, and other funding options are inadequate to cover the cost of needed equipment, Project EQL bridges the gap. “It is not an exaggeration to say that this fund is literally a life-changer for many people,” says Kent Hamstra, director of clinical care management. “Having the proper durable medical equipment is an important foundation to continue life as independently as possible.”
This year, through the generous support of the Daniels Fund and other donors, the Craig Foundation expects to help purchase durable medical equipment for more than 150 patients with financial needs.
The remaining $233,615 of the Daniels Fund grant will be used to purchase a new ErigoPro and replace the Craig wheelchair fleet.
The ErigoPro is an adjustable tilt table with a robotic stepping mechanism and functional electrical stimulation. Physical therapists use this sophisticated equipment to stimulate leg neurons, prevent atrophy in the lower extremities, and build up a tolerance for vertical positioning in patients who have experienced a brain or spinal cord injury.
Nearly all Craig patients with spinal cord injury, and some with brain injury, rely on wheelchairs for mobility. Wheelchairs must be tailored to each user’s dimensions and posture; in fact, a poorly fitting chair can cause further injury.
Ensuring proper wheelchair fit is a complicated, time-consuming process. Experienced Craig therapists work closely with each inpatient to trial wheelchairs for a week at a time. They adjust such factors as height, padding, and back inclination and assess the ideal fit, then help the patient to order an appropriate chair for personal use.
The Daniels Fund grant will purchase a new fleet of power and manual wheelchairs, and power assist wheels. As the fleet is replaced, the older chairs will be modified as needed and distributed to patients through Project EQL.
“We are grateful to the Daniels Fund for ensuring access to the most cutting-edge rehabilitation equipment and essential adaptive equipment,” says Shannon Lowe, interim executive director of the Foundation. “Their support is making it possible for every Craig graduate to resume his or her life with greater ease, independence, safety, and dignity.”
The Daniels Fund, established by cable television pioneer Bill Daniels, is a private charitable foundation dedicated to making life better for the people of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming through its grants program, scholarship program, and ethics initiative. Visit DanielsFund.org to learn more.