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Making daily life easier for people with disabilities

Lena Jansson

- Global

- Dec 2 2014

Lena Jansson

District Manager of Medical Services and Logistics, Sodexo Sweden

Providing people with disabilities (PWDs) with the support they need, can make a difference in their Quality of Life. Lena Jansson, Physiotherapist and Stockholm District Manager of Medical Services and Logistics, focuses on the possibilities.

Would you please provide a bit of background on Sodexo’s Aid Equipment Service?

Lena Jansson: The Sodexo Aid Equipment Service is very unique in that we are a part of the Swedish National Healthcare System, yet we are at the same time, a private service company. While there are other good aid equipment centers all over the country, we are the only one that combines the service-mentality of Sodexo to provide customized, tailored solutions with the service, maintenance and repairs of aid equipment to our clients. We have been doing this work since 2003 and we have just started our third contract with the County of Stockholm, which will last until 2019.

Can you give an example of a customized solution?

L.J.: Once a need is identified, doctors or therapists can order equipment, such as beds, wheelchairs and crutches, through our online portal for a speedy delivery directly to their patients. But in cases when patients have a complex diagnosis or multiple disabilities, they need an expert consultation. This is where we come in. Our physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses and other team members meet with patients, relatives or prescribers to discuss what each patient can do, and more importantly, what they would like to do. Based on this meeting, we can make customized adjustments to equipment. For example, with a wheelchair, this could mean adjusting the neck or the back area, or changing the type of wheels or even creating completely customized parts.

All of these efforts contribute to the main goal: to support patients in having a normal life, or one that is as normal as possible. We don’t want our patients to spend all day thinking about their disabilities, but rather about their possibilities!

Can you provide an example of how the right piece of equipment can restore some normalcy to a person’s life?

L.J.: If PWDs don’t have the proper equipment, it can often lead to isolation. However, having access to an electric wheelchair might mean that a person can go out on their own without depending on others. I had a patient, a 98-year-old woman, who was no longer able to drive. When we upgraded her to an electric wheelchair, she was suddenly able to do her own grocery shopping – she hadn’t done so in years. To be able to give someone that freedom, to go to a store and choose for themselves – that is Quality of Life.

That being said, our work not only focuses on providing equipment, but we also work to develop the necessary infrastructure to promote the inclusion of this population. You see, it doesn’t help if you have the ability to get around in an electric wheelchair, yet the subways or a buses aren’t equipped with the right ramps or wide enough hallways to accommodate the wheelchair.  To that end, we work with the County of Stockholm to make the city accessible for everyone – from transportation to restaurants and shops. Every step that is taken to make the society available to PWDs is important.

How does Sodexo participate in the inclusion of PWDs in Stockholm?

L.J.: There are several PWDs on my team. It’s a great moment when a young boy or girl in wheelchair comes in for a consultation or a service and they actually meet a technician in a wheelchair. That young person realizes – I can work here. I can get a job one day. That is our opportunity to add to their Quality of Life.

That said, it’s important to say however, that I don’t hire PWDs because they are disabled. I hire them because they have the right skills. Their knowledge of the patient’s struggles, of what it’s like to be in a wheelchair, is an advantage, but not the reason they are hired.

What is your personal motivation for working in this field?

L.J.: As a former basketball player, I know what it is like to be injured. This understanding, paired with the fact that I truly enjoy working with people, is what originally led me to become a physiotherapist. This job involves so much – it requires me to be a detective and find out what is wrong. But it gives me the opportunity to provide people with the tools that can actually help them to get better. It’s an amazing thing when I can convince someone that they can do something that they didn’t think was possible; that they have more possibilities than disabilities. It’s a great journey to be a part of.

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Making daily life easier for people with disabilities

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  • Wed
    03 Dec


    Lena and her team are absolutely amazing! Here is a movie from their fine operation in Stockholm. http://youtu.be/DzzYxAY2EYg


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