Modern hospitals always try to make sure they have the best new equipment available to their patients. When they upgrade to something new, the old medical supplies are often donated to help other hospitals and organisations. All the equipment cannot be donated, but most of it will be put to good use by someone who needs it.
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Check for giving guidelines. Before loading your car with medical equipment and driving to an agency, check the guidelines for giving. For example, some organisations may not accept medical equipment that's too outdated.
Start locally. Giving locally saves on transport costs, as well as time for volunteers sorting through unsorted donations, freeing them to do relief jobs with people who need help. Look in the yellow pages under "Medical Agencies" to find people who need the equipment. Note any home health care agencies in your community who could distribute equipment to homebound patients. Post notices in community centre newsletters and church bulletins that you have medical equipment to donate.
Look for donation links on websites. Many agencies provide links on their web sites explaining how to donate medical supplies and equipment and where to send them. Call or e-mail about the kinds of equipment they accept. A good example of a large company that donates worldwide is the American Medical Resource Foundation (AMRF), which has donated more than £130 million worth of medical equipment to 90 countries within the last 18 months (See Resources). Call (508) 580-3301 for details.
Donate overseas. Third world countries are in desperate need of medical equipment.
The Hidaya Foundation -- An organisation that collects new and gently used items to help the poor and needy in South Asian countries, as well as in other parts of the world, when needs arise. For details call (866) 244-3292. Health Care Volunteer -- Health Care Volunteer (See Resources) is another organisation that needs donations of all kinds of medical equipment. They distribute medical supplies and equipment worldwide to countries most in need. By mailing off your used medical equipment to the organisation's El Paso, Texas office, rather than overseas, you save money on transporting.
Give to the American Red Cross. Before sending anything to the American Red Cross, call your local chapter for information on donating guidelines. The Red Cross accepts used medical equipment if it's needed for a relief operation or program. Their guidelines are set up by the World Health Organization.
Keep all receipts for taxes. Besides feeling good you've helped others in need, giving medical equipment is a good idea because you can write it off on your income taxes. Organise all receipts in a separate file, including what you gave, so you'll have them when it's time to do your taxes.
Tips and warnings
- Make sure the equipment is useful and not badly damaged. As long as it's repairable, some organisations will actually still take it.
- When donating electrical equipment to be shipped overseas, verify the voltage matches the country's voltage requirements.
- Check to ensure your equipment is compatible to a foreign country's technology.
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