There are No Boundaries to help people in need

Medical loan closet helps those who fall between the cracks
By Rachel Robles, Lifestyles editor | May 08, 2014
Photo by: Rachel Robles NO BOUNDARIES — Karis Plemmons, director of No Boundaries, is firmly dedicated to the mission of helping those who have fallen through the cracks by loaning them necessary medical equipment for free.

Anyone with a medical condition that requires in-home care knows that medical equipment — in addition to everything else in-home care requires — is expensive. Fortunately, there is a small haven of relief.

No Boundaries, located at 47 Forga Plaza Loop in Waynesville, is a small nonprofit that mainly provides in-home care to elderly and disabled individuals in Haywood and Jackson counties. A big draw, though, is its large medical supply loan closet. It is the largest — if not only — medical supply loan closet in Haywood County.

Karis Plemmons, the director of No Boundaries, is firmly dedicated to her mission.

“Home care keeps people from being placed in facilities if they don’t need to go,” said Plemmons. “Insurance companies save money if people remain in their homes. If we have the equipment people need to be able to stay in their homes, it helps on so many levels.”

A native of Haywood County, Plemmons is a registered nurse who resides in Waynesville. She worked at Mission Hospital for about a year and began working in home care after the birth of her daughter.

“The loan closet is funded by very small monetary donations and donations of equipment,” said Plemmons. “No Boundaries accepts working, clean equipment and supplies which we loan or donate to individuals in need for free. To meet the criteria, the individual must either need the item short term, such as after a surgery, or cannot afford the item due to insurance not covering it.”

No Boundaries was formed 10 years ago by a group of individuals from various backgrounds including nursing, rehabilitation, nonprofits, financial advisors, those who have worked with individuals with disabilities and people with disabilities.

“It was a grassroots effort to assist individuals that fall through the cracks, specifically for in-home care,” said Plemmons.  “Three of the founders had come from a home health company and saw many clients who could not afford, or were not eligible for, assistance through insurance with in-home care. The initial goal of No Boundaries was to provide care for these people.”

Members of the medical community often use or recommend No Boundaries to their patients.

“Without No Boundaries, it would be very hard for me to my job,” said Katherine Hunter, a physical therapist for MedWest Haywood. “We are so fortunate to have them. There are so many people that need help and just can’t get it. They don’t have insurance, or make too much money to get help. It happens to a lot of people.”

For example, a transfer bench — the safest way for disabled people to get in and out of the bathtub — easily costs over $100, not a price many patients can pay out of pocket. Hunter often sends her patients to No Boundaries to get the equipment they need for free.

“They’re waiting on a check, but they have immediate need,” said Hunter. “They need the equipment as soon as possible.”

One of the biggest benefits of No Boundaries is that its loan closet is open to anyone in need, regardless of financial status.

“It really doesn’t matter if they live in the country club area; they have the same options as someone who is less financially well off,” said Hunter.

Justin Kirsch, an occupational therapist with MedWest Haywood Home Care Services, also experiences the benefits of No Boundaries on a regular basis.

“It’s a huge help to me,” said Kirsch. “I see myself as a conduit that guides people to No Boundaries.”

Like Hunter, Kirsch runs into issues with insurance not covering necessary medical equipment for his patients.

“Medicare has certain rules and regulations in respect to equipment,” said Kirsch. “Part of the problem I run into as an occupational therapist is that I have to get these people at home independent, specifically in the bathroom. This requires equipment for modification, for bathing, dressing, toileting, etc. Medicare will not cover these things. Shower chairs are the big one; wheelchairs are another.”

Because Medicare requires very specific documentation, it often takes weeks, if not months, for approval to go through, regardless of whether the need is immediate or long-term.

“No Boundaries fills a huge gap because they’re involved in the community,” said Kirsch. “Without people taking time to go through their closets and garages to find their gently used equipment and donating it, none of this would happen.”

Since the program started, approximately 900 individuals, some of them multiple times, have been assisted. No Boundaries has also been able to donate supplies — such as intravenous fluid, tube feeding, colostomy supplies, urinary catheters, etc. — that would not be dispersed on a regular basis to Samaritan’s Purse.

No Boundaries is currently overflowing with donated items. A year and a half ago, the organization moved into its new office in Forga Plaza and has since had to expand to two storage units. It is currently seeking funding to assist with expanding its storage space and program.

Those in need of medical equipment or those interested in donating equipment or funds should call 456-7930 or visit the office between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Those in need of equipment are asked to call before visiting to make sure the loan closet has the necessary equipment.