Medical Equipment Banks: How to Find Free Medical Equipment

Discover how to access free medical equipment through medical equipment banks and overcome financial barriers to essential healthcare resources.
Published on
June 5, 2023
Presented by Givers
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Family caregivers often spend a lot of money on medical equipment, from diabetic supplies to mobility devices. How can you help your loved one without breaking the bank? Medical equipment banks aid individuals with medical conditions or disabilities who face financial difficulties or shortages of necessary equipment. By providing essential equipment, these banks contribute significantly to improving healthcare and enhancing the quality of life for those in need. How can you take advantage of a medical equipment bank?

What is a medical equipment bank?

A medical equipment bank, also known as a medical equipment loan program or medical equipment recycling program, is a charitable organization or initiative that collects, refurbishes, and loans or donates equipment to individuals in need. These programs aim to provide access to essential equipment for those who may not have the financial means or insurance coverage to acquire such equipment on their own.

The primary purpose of a medical equipment bank is to bridge the gap between people who require this equipment and the availability of affordable or free options. They typically accept used or unused equipment donations from individuals, healthcare facilities, and other organizations. The donated equipment is then assessed, cleaned, repaired, and made available for loan or donation to families who meet the eligibility criteria.

Medical equipment banks can offer a wide range of equipment, including wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, hospital beds, nebulizers, and other assistive devices. The equipment is typically loaned out for a specified period, allowing individuals to use it for their medical needs without purchasing it outright.

Importance of durable medical goods for healthcare needs

Assistive devices like wheelchairs, walkers, and hospital beds are crucial for people with disabilities, chronic illnesses, or injuries. These medical goods help them move around, perform daily tasks, and manage their health. Unfortunately, the high cost of buying such equipment can be a significant obstacle for many people and their families, especially those with financial difficulties.

What does durable medical equipment cost? 

Managing healthcare needs can be challenging when required equipment is expensive and not covered by insurance. 

Fortunately, medical equipment banks collect and refurbish gently used equipment to distribute to those who cannot afford it. They find used medical equipment to sell that can be used to help individuals in need. Medial equipment banks reduce financial burdens so people have the necessary equipment to care for their health.

Community support and sustainability

Medical equipment banks rely on community support to sustain their operations. They often collaborate with healthcare providers, community organizations, and individuals to collect donations of used medical equipment. This community involvement ensures a steady supply of equipment.

Promoting recycling and reusing of durable medical goods

By encouraging the recycling and reusing of durable medical goods, medical equipment banks contribute to sustainability efforts in the healthcare sector. Instead of discarding equipment that is no longer needed, individuals can donate it to a medical equipment bank, where it can be refurbished and given a new lease on life. 


Who are you caring for?

How do you use a medical equipment bank?

Research and locates a reliable medical equipment bank in your local area. Online resources, community directories, and healthcare provider recommendations can be valuable sources of information in identifying organizations that provide such services. Healthcare providers and community organizations often have information on local medical equipment banks. 

Contacting them and inquiring about available resources can help individuals navigate the process more efficiently. You will need the following: 

  1. Proof of medical necessity
  2. Valid prescription or referral from a healthcare professional
  3. Demonstrate financial need or hardship
  4. Complete the application or intake process
  5. Agree to return or donate equipment when no longer needed

 Non-profits that help with medical equipment needs

  1. Friends of Disabled Adults and Children (FODAC): Provides donated equipment and assistive devices to people with disabilities. Visit their website at
  2. Project MEND: Provides equipment and assistive devices to individuals with disabilities and chronic health conditions. Visit their website at
  3. Good Health Will: Offers a variety of medical equipment and assistive devices to individuals with disabilities. Visit their website at
  4. Pass It On Center: Provides information and resources to help individuals access assistive technology and durable medical equipment. Visit their website at
  5. Med-Eq: Distributes refurbished and donated medical equipment to individuals in need. Visit their website at
  6. ReCares: Offers a wide range of donated medical equipment and supplies to people in need. Visit their website at
  7. Abilities United: Provides refurbished medical equipment and assistive devices to individuals with disabilities. Visit their website at
  8. National Seating & Mobility (NSM) Foundation: Assists individuals in accessing mobility equipment, including wheelchairs and mobility aids. Visit their website at
  9. CaringBridge: Connects people needing medical equipment with donors through their online platform. Visit their website at
  10. The ALS Association: Offers various support services, including access to medical equipment, for individuals with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Visit their website at
  11. Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA): Provides support and resources, including access to medical equipment, for individuals with muscular dystrophy and related neuromuscular diseases. Visit their website at
  12. The Wheelchair Foundation: Distributes wheelchairs to individuals in need domestically and internationally. Visit their website at

Availability and services offered may vary among organizations, so contact them for detailed information to determine if they can fulfill your specific medical equipment needs.

Loan agreements and responsibilities

Before borrowing equipment, carefully read and sign the loan agreements provided by the equipment bank. These agreements have essential information about borrowings, such as deadlines, fees, and duties. Use and maintain the equipment properly by following the manufacturer's instructions and the equipment bank's guidelines. 

How do I care for DME from a medical equipment bank? 

Proper maintenance and care of borrowed equipment are essential to ensure its longevity and functionality. Caregivers should diligently follow the manufacturer's cleaning, maintenance, and storage instructions to keep the equipment in optimal condition. 

If any issues or malfunctions arise with the borrowed equipment, caregivers should promptly report them to the medical equipment bank. This allows for timely repairs or replacements and ensures the safety and well-being of the individual using the equipment.

Return the equipment promptly once you no longer need it, and help others benefit from the resources. Share experiences and report any issues to enhance the equipment bank's quality of service.


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Smart saving tips for family caregivers

Identifying and prioritizing healthcare needs is crucial as a family caregiver when budgeting for durable medical goods. By understanding the most critical requirements, caregivers can allocate their resources effectively and ensure the necessary equipment is accessible.

Setting a specific budget for durable medical goods helps caregivers plan their finances and avoid unexpected financial strain. Allocating funds for these expenses ensures the necessary equipment can be obtained without sacrificing other essential needs. Spend time researching options available in your area, and find the one with high-quality equipment that meets your economic situation. 

If you still cannot afford the available equipment, take the time to speak with the non-profit team. They may have financial options available to help you save money. Different organizations may offer varying services and equipment options, so it is vital to identify the most suitable opportunities for the specific needs of the individual under care.

Checking eligibility criteria and available equipment inventory

Before making a request, caregivers should review the eligibility requirements and available equipment inventory of medical equipment banks to ensure they choose the best options for their loved ones. Seeking guidance from healthcare professionals, such as doctors, therapists, or nurses, can also be helpful, and these experts can evaluate the individual's needs and recommend the most suitable equipment.

Help your family member get the medical equipment they need

Medical equipment banks are crucial in supporting people who require durable medical goods. They make these goods more accessible and affordable and engage local communities to improve healthcare outcomes. Family caregivers can use these resources and apply smart saving tips to guarantee their loved ones the best care and quality of life. Let's collaborate to expand access to healthcare and make it more accessible to everyone.

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