Established in 1994, the Ventilator Equipment Pool (VEP) is a provincial service operated by Kingston Health Sciences Centre that provides life-enhancing equipment to thousands of clients across Ontario. Funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC), the VEP is the central provincial depot of ventilators and related equipment for persons of all ages who require these devices at home and who have been approved under the ministry’s Assistive Devices Program.
VEP equipment is loaned free-of-charge to individuals with a long-term physical disability or illness requiring mechanical ventilation, for example, muscular dystrophy (MD) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Clients no longer requiring use of the equipment return it to the VEP where it is cleaned, serviced, tested and loaned to the next eligible client.
Staffed by highly qualified professionals, the VEP also provides a number of related services, including 24-hour telephone technical support seven days per week, equipment service and, educational support. Registered respiratory therapists provide in-home instruction on the use of the equipment to new applicants using non-invasive ventilation.
In November 2007, the VEP expanded its program to include the provision of oxygen saturation monitors. These monitors are provided to individuals under the age of 18, including premature infants with respiratory problems who are at risk of a profound drop in blood oxygen levels. Without these monitors, young individuals would be at a much higher risk of respiratory failure or increased hospital stays.
To accommodate the program’s growth, in December 2007, the VEP moved to a location in Kingston’s west end at 640 Cataraqui Woods Drive. The new site offers approximately 3,800-square feet of customized space including private offices, a separate room for equipment cleaning and disinfection, and a biomedical area where equipment is serviced, repaired and tested. The facility is wheelchair accessible and has convenient on-site parking for clients.