The Equipment Loan Service (ELS) Project

The Equipment Loan Service (ELS) Project

Project description: Equipment is loaned out to families in Gozo to enable handicapped, elderly and sick persons to be nursed in their own homes by their relatives or other helpers.

The basic aim of this service is to give vulnerable and dependent persons, especially those who are bed-bound or challenged by physical mobility issues or cognitive problems, the facility to continue living in their preferred environment in the family home.

  1. The equipment loan service is primarily intended to enhance serenity in the life of persons in the evening of their life by keeping them in their own homes where they prefer to live;
  2. to encourage the value of familial solidarity by making life easier for relatives who want to care for their dependent loved ones;
  3. to make it possible for families to avoid the emotional discomfort and financial stress of being forced to lodge their elderly members to be cared for by strangers for the rest of their lives in the alien environment of a private or public residential institution.
  4. Keeping the chronic sick an elderly in their own homes has the added beneficial effect of reducing to some extent the well-known phenomenon of long-term hospital bed-blockage by a nationally enlarging group of persons who are dependent on others for the basic needs of eating, drinking and moving.

The idea of providing a loan service started in 2005 when some people requested the FSEG to provide them with special nursing beds to help them give the necessary care for severely handicapped family members in their homes. The demand for this service grew naturally with only word-of-mouth information, without direct advertisement, and it was met with the readiness of the FSEG to assist in accordance with its available means.  In 2009, the organisation adopted the Equipment Loan Service (ELS) as its main project, without abandoning its other statutory work.

Analysis of the ELS project in the Gozo community indicates a positive public response with progressively increasing demands for the service, in spite of absent active propaganda. This indicates a genuine need of the community for the service being provided.

The graph below was drawn very early in 2018; it shows the equipment loan progress over the years; by 11 September 2018, the fresh loans or re-loans for the current year year (2018) had already reached eighty (80) deliveries of equipment (not shown in the graph) below.

                                                                                                                                                                               

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Progress of Equipment Loans over the years (January 2018)                                                                                              [Note: By 11 September 2018 the number of loans for the year reached 80]

The chart below shows the circulation of equipment in Gozo over the last 12 years

Count of Equipment Type

Column Labels

   

Donated

Moves

Row Labels

On Loan

Returned

Sold

Store

Ta’ Pinu

Grand Total

2005

1

1

   

2

2008

1

6

   

7

2009

5

43

   

48

2010

7

16

   

23

2011

15

42

1

  

58

2012

22

35

   

57

2013

34

64

   

98

2014

30

45

   

75

2015

47

38

   

85

2016

102

47

  

1

150

2017

112

59

1

13

1

186

2018

8

    

8

(blank)

1

1

 

17

 

19

Grand Total

385

397

2

30

2

816

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deliveries of Equipment per Year (up to 30 January 2018)

From 2005 to date (14 Sep.2018), 970 items have been circulated (loaned and returned) around Gozo over the years: currently, there are 338 items being actively used in family homes, including 34 motorised and 1 manual patient hoists, 78 motorised nursing beds, 6 manually operated beds with 84 matching or pressure-relieving mattresses, 37 Ripple mattresses with air-pumps; 74 wheelchairs, 50 walking aids and other items like toilet-seat raisers, commodes, etc.

The project is run by administrative and fundraising volunteers. it is funded from bi-monthly car boot sales, donations, bequests and annual social events.  Equipment delivery and sanitation fees after use are paid for by the clients. The loan period is not restricted by the FSEG and some loans last for years, though most last for weeks or months. The borrower pays an initial donation (€20 – €90) calculated on the relative cost of the item loaned, but no rigidity is applied; in fact, several families pay less than the standard fee, particularly if they are paying members of the NGO or are known to be poor.

Apart from the assistance to appreciative patients and their caring relatives, provision of this service on a large scale would have the obvious benefit of a significant reduction in unnecessary admissions to the state hospitals and nursing homes, with the following effects:

(1) a considerable saving of the expense of prolonged hospital bed occupancy by so-called “social cases”;

(2) a reduction of nursing and ancillary staff workload;

(3) an improvement in patient turnover;

(4) a reduction in surgical waiting lists as more bed-space becomes available; and

(5) the avoidance of administrative work involved in the process of admissions and discharges.

Considering that the stable population resident in Gozo is approximately 30,000, about one in every 30 persons has benefitted from the FSEG equipment loan service, so far. Assuming that in the island of Malta there is a similar co-operative acceptance rate by families with functionally-dependent relatives, extension of this project nationwide would achieve a tenfold delivery of the proven benefits.

The FSEG Equipment Loan Service evaluated briefly above can serve as a Pilot Project for consideration of expansion on a national basis as a government service.

Scroll to Top