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LungNSPEI works closely with the pediatric respirology department at IWK Health in Halifax, NS who
have firsthand experience in how we can best support their vulnerable and disadvantaged patients.
A major area identified is the need for lower income families to be able to access grants/subsidies or
have the ability to access loans of respiratory equipment their child needs to be discharged from
hospital and/or to treat their respiratory disease or complication at home.


WHY?
Many lower income families do not have the additional funds to purchase the medical equipment their child urgently needs to live the healthiest life possible. This can happen for many reasons, but
primarily the below factors come into play:


• Most families qualify for some sort of financial support (via private insurance or through the
Department of Community Services) but it does not always cover the total amount (i.e.: only 80%
coverage). Most families still need to pay out of pocket for the remainder and cannot aord to do so.
• Local charities/organizations have depleted their funds post-COVID-19, and the team at IWK Heath
have not been successful in locating additional support for patients requiring help.
• Some families do not have private insurance, but their family income exceeds the accepted criteria
for assistance programs (i.e.: Direct Family Support).
• Others have private insurance, but it does not cover the equipment required and/or they have maxed out their yearly (or lifetime) limit (i.e.: many policies do not cover cough assist units which are over $6,700 each).
• There is no government funded program for respiratory equipment locally. Even outside of these
tough economic times, these funding gaps mean many families in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward
Island are not able to afford the critical medical equipment their child requires and is medically
prescribed.


The main reason children need this equipment can vary based on the condition/disease of the child
but the common factors are a weakening cough, inability to clear secretions, frequent respiratory
infections, overall muscle weakness, progression of disease, decline in lung function, and
hypoventilation.


At the IWK, the medical team experiences one to two families each month in need.


Below are estimated costs associated with some of the most common equipment needed:

aerosol machines and supplies ($120 each)

  • Cough assist machines ($6700)

  • Suction units and supplies ($1000 each)

  • Saturation monitors and supplies ($1500 each)

  • CPAP machines ($1800 each)

  • BIPAP machines ($4000 each)

  • CPAP/BIPAP masks ($325 each)

  • Nebulizer’s ($1350 each)

  • Portable aspirators ($635 each)


Patient’s will be referred to LungNSPEI by the IWK Respirology team (who services NS and PEI
pediatric patients). Parents / guardians of the patient will fill out a brief application form that will be
reviewed by LungNSPEI to ensure need and assess the funding gap. Successful applicants will be
provided support either through a grant (full or partial) to purchase the prescribed equipment and/or
provided a short-term loan of the prescribed equipment. Loaned equipment, when returned, will be
professionally refurbished and available for the next child in need.

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