Renting Medical Equipment for the Holidays

Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner—do you need to rent any medical equipment for travel or hosting? The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for medical equipment rentals.

This FAQ is intended to answer some of the most common questions regarding medical rentals during the holidays. Let’s get started.

Do I Need to Reserve Medical Equipment in Advance for the Holidays?

Reserving rental medical equipment or supplies early never hurts. Making sure you have a wheelchair or walker ready for travel is better than waiting until the last minute.

We suggest reserving equipment 1-2 weeks in advance of the date you need it. Waiting until a day or two before you need a piece of equipment could lead to your supplier not having the unit you need.

Remember: If your provider doesn’t have a unit in stock that you need in the near future, ask to be put on a waiting list. Many retailers will call you as soon as they are restocked with the unit you need.

What Medical Equipment Rental Items Help Guests with Special Needs?

Always ask a guest if they need any special accommodations before renting anything. Providers could recommend any number of general rental items, but your guests may not need any of them.

If you are hosting any holiday events and live in an older home, you will need to measure the width of your doorways (especially bathrooms). Some walkers and wheelchairs will not fit through narrow doorways, in which case you may need to rent a unit that fits.

Low-Impact Home Mods

Hosting guests with special needs can also be made easy with some low-impact home modifications. Shower chairs, grab bars, reachers, toilet seat risers & rails, and other items will help guests without doing damage to your home.

Low-impact home mods are not offered as rentals by most providers. Most low-impact home mods are a great investment if you host visitors with special needs more than a few times per year.

Holiday Lift Chair Rentals

Lift chair rentals are an easy way to help host elderly guests or guests with special needs. If you have a lot of furniture that sits high off the ground or overstuffed couches and chairs, a lift chair rental offers help for anyone who needs extra help standing up.

Rental lift chairs and lift recliners can also help with any holiday injuries. Slipping on the ice can lead to some nasty falls that require some recovery time. Lift chairs can be used to lessen the burden of standing up and sitting down and can even be used for sleep—if stairs are too much.

If you decide to rent a lift chair, make sure your provider offers delivery and setup. Lift chairs weigh around 150-200 lbs. on average and can be tricky to get through doorways.

What Medical Equipment Should I Travel With?

This totally depends on the needs of the individual who is traveling. Like most travel, however, less luggage is better. If you are traveling with a walker or wheelchair, finding a lightweight rental option can help out a lot. Less weight plus a smaller footprint makes lightweight options ideal to travel with.

If you need to travel with a wheelchair, you should see if swapping it out for a transport chair is an option. Transport chairs do not allow users to self-propel—the user will need to be pushed. If you are OK with this a transport chair rental could be a great option. Standard wheelchairs are almost double the weight of transport chairs!

Renting a rollator or lightweight walker for car travel can save space and loading stress. Remember to look at weather conditions—stay safe and be careful if you are using medical equipment outside during extreme conditions.

Canes, crutches, and other small pieces of medical equipment can usually be purchased and transported at a lower price than renting.

Can I Take a Mobility Scooter or Power Wheelchair on a Plane?

Short answer: Call the airline you are flying with.

Longer answer: I listed the short answer first for a reason—different airlines have different policies when it comes to traveling with power mobility items.

The most common roadblock to flying with a power wheelchair or mobility scooter is battery compliance. Many airlines will not allow certain battery types to be loaded onto a plane.

Another common situation fliers with special needs find themselves in is the size of their mobility unit. In this case the solution is easy—rent a smaller, more travel-friendly unit. Remember to ask your provider what type of battery the rental unit has to see if it complies with your airline!

The last thing you should look at before flying with a power mobility unit is your destination. There may be no need to fly with your mobility scooter or power wheelchair if there is a good rental provider near your destination. If you are unsure where to start looking, call your hotel or ask whoever is hosting you if they have any information.

When is it Better to Buy than to Rent?

I wrote a blog on essential medical equipment questions recently. If you are interested in medical equipment rentals vs. purchases break-even points and comparisons you should read the blog.

Medical Equipment Rentals at Oswald’s Pharmacy

The holiday season is one of the busiest seasons at our store—and medical rentals are no exception. We reserve rental units up to 2 weeks in advance and offer local delivery and setup. We have different sizes of every unit, so be sure to get any measurements you need before reserving any rental unit.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us or email us and talk to one of our Medical Equipment Showroom team members. We’ll be here to make sure you have a great holiday season!

Written by Wil Anderson

Wil has been working for Oswald's since 1994. A 6th generation member of the Wickel-Oswald-Kester-Anderson family, Wil focuses on web development, inventory, and sales. With over 10 years of experience selling durable and home medical equipment, Wil is an expert on helping people find what they need to use after major surgery or an accident. Wil graduated with a BA in English Literature from Knox College in 2008, minoring in History. A graduate of Naperville North High School in 2004, Wil is a lifelong Naperville resident and is currently a columnist for Positively Naperville.