In October, the Wheelchair team visited Jamaica where they distributed 66 new chairs and modified 56 wheelchairs for residents at seven apostolates in Jamaica. The team specializes in fitted wheelchairs that are individually customized to the resident who needs them.
A properly fitted wheelchair improves a resident’s ability to eat and breathe with comfort as well as interact with friends. While the custom wheelchairs require ongoing maintenance to ensure a perfect fit, they empower our residents to continue their mental and physical development in greater comfort and with new sources of strength.
Within MSC Jamaica, there are over 200 children and adults who require a wheelchair. The Wheelchair Team assesses the mobility needs of each resident, prescribes the appropriate wheelchair, and sources mobility equipment. This requires rebuilding donated wheelchairs to meet the needs of each resident. The wheelchairs are shipped to Jamaica and the team returns to fit residents into their "new" chairs.
For some residents, it will take 5-6 hours of adjustments to get the best comfort, mobility and position for them to enhance their physiological functions, such as breathing, swallowing, digestion and elimination. The team also repairs wheelchairs and trains staff on seating and maintenance.
Jane Schmitz, Wheelchair Team member, says the days are long, about 15-16 hours in total, but seeing the improvement makes it all worth it. “The smile is definitely our reward,” she said. “Whether it’s a complete change in their positioning, making them more functional, or just giving them some one-on-one attention, their face tells us everything we need to know.”
Watch this video to see some of their previous work and the impact it has on Mustard Seed residents.
To fund a wheelchair for a Mustard Seed resident, make a gift here.