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Providers of Durable Medical Equipment Ensure Independence and Safety during Extreme Weather and Power Outages
Date:7/3/2012

WASHINGTON, July 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- During the recent extreme weather and power outages across the country, providers of durable medical equipment and services have been working alongside other first responders to ensure the safety of seniors and people with disabilities.

Millions of seniors and people with disabilities require some form of home medical equipment and services in the home, such as oxygen therapy, ventilators, hospital beds, or wheelchairs, says the American Association for Homecare.

Homecare providers are especially concerned about power outages, which can be deadly for people who require a concentrator to generate oxygen to treat lung diseases or chronic heart failure, or a ventilator for breathing.  These devices run on electricity.

Home MediService, based in Havre de Grace, Maryland, serves about 1,500 oxygen patients across several counties in Maryland as well as parts of Delaware and Pennsylvania.

Joe McGrain, distribution operations manager for the company, described their response to the storm that slammed into the Mid-Atlantic on Friday, June 29, which caused massive power outages.

"Beginning about 4:30 a.m. on Saturday June 30, we started receiving calls from patients without power. We received a total of 33 calls on Saturday and Sunday and responded to 21 to deliver additional back-up oxygen." 

McGrain said they evaluated each call to determine the patient's oxygen flow rate and quantity of back up oxygen in the home, and then dispatched additional back up supplies accordingly.

"Through this event we had no patients who were without oxygen. Through this week there are still patients in our service area without power and we are delivering oxygen daily if needed, depending on their liter flow."  

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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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