SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The worldwide supply chain crisis is putting a strain on Utah hospitals. Today health officials from Intermountain Healthcare, University of Utah Health, Steward Health, and the Utah Hospital Association are launching a statewide donation drive called “Lean On Utah.”
They say the goal is to help build back the supply of crutches and walkers in Utah hospitals.
In a press conference, Dr. Joey Kamerath of Intermountain Healthcare says their healthcare system “goes through 1,800 pairs of crutches each month, but their supply chain has run completely dry of the equipment.”
As the nation continues to feel the pinch of the supply shortage, many hospitals are unaware of when these materials may be available again.
So, officials are leaning on Utahans to check around their homes for metal crutches, walkers, canes, and non-motorized wheelchairs. They say it’s to prevent hospitals from running out of the medical equipment needed to care for their patients.
“During this period where we cannot get this equipment, there will be stokes, children will have continued to have motor vehicle accidents, members of our community will have sports-related injuries or require other surgeries and they will need this equipment for safety and to aid in recovery” explains Kamerath.
The donation drive, LeanOnUtah, begins Saturday, Oct. 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at several locations around the state. Collections will also occur on Nov. 6 and 13 at the same locations and times. Those wanting to donate can also visit leanonutah.com efforts to abide by COVID-19 protocols caregivers will sanitize and inspect the devices for safety before being sent to hospitals for use. They will then be given to patients with a note letting them know it was generously donated by someone in the community. All devices that can’t be repaired will be properly recycled.
In the midst of an ongoing pandemic, this walk-assist equipment shortage is happening at a difficult time for hospitals because November and December are the busiest time of year for elective surgeries, especially in orthopedics, which often requires walk-assist devices for recovery.
Brian Dunn, president of Steward Health Care’s Western Region says “We want to thank our friends and neighbors in advance for their donations. Utahans are known for their giving spirits, are hopeful that the giving spirit will continue as we ask for your help in donating these important supplies.”