4 Types Of Durable Medical Equipment: How To Use It Properly

DMEs are designed to aid people’s daily activities and provide them with the support they need for mobility, comfort, functionality, and health. Depending on your needs, DMEs can range from basic items like crutches or wheelchair ramps to complex pieces of equipment such as a powered scooter.

DMEs are an integral part of the healthcare system and are used to help maintain or improve a patient’s quality of life. They can also be used in the

  • Home
  • Workplace, or
  • Other locations as needed

Common Types of DME

DMEs are categorized into four main types:

Mobility Aids

These are used to help people with limited mobility and include items such as wheelchairs, walkers, canes, crutches, scooters, ramps, and lifts.


  1. Manual wheelchairs
  2. Power wheelchairs
  3. Transport wheelchairs

Some of the benefits of this types of durable medical equipment include increased freedom of movement, improved access to public spaces, and greater convenience.

Medical conditions best suited for each type

  • Manual wheelchairs: Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy
  • Power wheelchairs: Multiple Sclerosis, Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Transport wheelchairs: Stroke, Arthritis


  1. Standard walkers
  2. Rollators

Some of the benefits and features of walkers include adjustable height, portability, and increased stability.

Medical conditions best suited for each type

  • Standard walkers: Osteoporosis, Stroke
  • Rollators: Parkinson’s Disease, Post-Stroke Weakness


  1. Single-point canes
  2. Quad canes

The benefits and features of canes include adjustable height, portability, and increased stability.

Medical conditions best suited for each type

  • Single-point canes: Osteoporosis, Post-Stroke Weakness
  • Quad canes: Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis

Medical Supplies

This type of medical equipment helps with everyday activities such as personal hygiene (shower chairs), wound care (bandages, dressings), and other home health supplies (catheters, oxygen masks).

Hospital beds

  1. Manual hospital beds
  2. Electric hospital beds

Benefits and features of hospital beds:

  • Adjustable head, foot, height, and bed frame positions.
  • Ability to raise or lower the entire bed.
  • Easily transportable with wheels and brakes for safety.
  • Includes a variety of mattress options.

Medical conditions

  • Manual hospital beds: Traumatic injuries, Burns
  • Electric hospital beds: Post-Surgery Care, Multiple Sclerosis

Patient lifts

  1. Hoyer lifts
  2. Sit-to-stand lifts

Benefits and features of patient lifts:

  • Ability to transfer patients from bed to chairs and vice versa in a safe manner.
  • A stable design with locking brakes that provide added stability.
  • Lightweight and easy to transport.

Medical conditions

  • Hoyer lifts: Osteoporosis, Arthritis
  • Sit-to-stand lifts: Spinal Cord Injuries, Muscular Dystrophy

Oxygen equipment

  1. Oxygen concentrators
  2. Portable oxygen tanks

Benefits and features of oxygen equipment:

  • Portable and lightweight.
  • Ability to provide the user with a steady supply of oxygen without any additional setup or installation.
  • Low maintenance and easy to use.

Medical conditions

  • Oxygen concentrators: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Cystic Fibrosis
  • Portable oxygen tanks: Bronchiectasis, Asthma

Respiratory Equipment

CPAP machines

CPAP machines help treat sleep apnea by providing a continuous flow of air pressure, keeping the airway open, and allowing for easier breathing.

Benefits and features:

  • Ability to provide instant relief from symptoms such as snoring.
  • Easy to use and easy to transport.
  • Adjustable settings so that the user can customize their treatment.
  • Portable and lightweight.

Medical conditions: Sleep Apnea, Obstructive Sleep Apnea


Ventilators are DMEs that help people with breathing difficulties, such as those caused by COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).

Benefits and features:

  • Ability to provide a steady supply of oxygen.
  • Adjustable settings for different user preferences.
  • Portable and lightweight.

Medical conditions: Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Respiratory Distress Syndrome


For those suffering from respiratory illnesses, nebulizers are a great way to deliver medications directly into the lungs.

Benefits and features:

  • Ability to deliver a steady stream of medication for quick relief.
  • Portable and lightweight.
  • Easy to use and maintain.

Medical conditions: Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Diagnostic Equipment

This type of equipment is typically used in a hospital setting and includes items such as X-ray machines, MRI scanners, ultrasound systems, and ECG monitors.

X-ray Machines

Benefits and features:

  • Ability to take a quick and accurate image for diagnosis.
  • Portable and lightweight.

Medical conditions: Bone Fractures, Lung Cancer

MRI Scanners

Benefits and features:

  • Ability to get a detailed view of the body’s organs and tissues.
  • Portable and lightweight.

Medical conditions: Brain Tumors, Multiple Sclerosis

Ultrasound Systems

Benefits and features:

  • Ability to get a detailed view of the internal organs.
  • Portable and lightweight.

Medical conditions: Kidney Stones, Appendicitis

ECG Monitors

Benefits and features:

  • Ability to monitor a person’s heartbeat in real-time.
  • Portable and lightweight.

Medical conditions: Abnormal Heart Rhythms, Cardiac Arrhythmias

How to Use DMEs Safely

It’s important to understand that using DMEs correctly is key to ensuring their effectiveness. Here are some tips on how to use DMEs safely:

  • Make sure the equipment is set up correctly and fits properly
  • Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions when using the equipment
  • Take special care to avoid falls, especially if you are using a wheelchair or walker
  • If you are using a powered scooter, be aware of your surroundings and take precautionary measures to prevent accidents
  • Make sure that your equipment is regularly inspected and serviced according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

For homecare purposes, it is also important to have a family member or caregiver present at all times when using DMEs. This ensures that you will be supported and monitored properly if you experience difficulties while using the equipment.

Safety Precautions and Regulations

Anything not taken care of properly can lead to injury or harm. It is important that medical equipment be inspected regularly and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

Additionally, all DMEs should have safety features such as labels and guards to prevent accidental injuries.

It is also important to check for recalls on DMEs before using them. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regularly monitors the safety of medical devices and will issue a recall if necessary.

Moreover, all DMEs must also meet certain standards set by the Department of Health to ensure they are safe for use. These standards include performance testing, labeling requirements, and safety regulations.

Finally, it is important to remember that DMEs are meant to improve quality of life and should not be used as a crutch. It is important to be mindful of your limitations and abilities when using them to ensure safety.

Insurance coverage and reimbursement options

Most insurance plans cover a portion of the cost associated with the purchasing and maintenance of DMEs. However, it is important to check with your insurance provider before making any decisions.

If you are unable to afford medical equipment, there may be government programs or charities that can help provide financial aid for those in need. It is also important to research local organizations that specialize in providing assistance for those with disabilities.

Importance of consulting healthcare professionals for guidance

DMEs are designed to provide medical aid and assistance. Therefore, it is important to consult your healthcare professional before using any type of medical equipment.

A healthcare professional will be able to assess your needs and ensure that you receive the correct device for your condition. Additionally, they can provide guidance on proper usage, maintenance, safety precautions, insurance coverage, and reimbursement options.

By consulting a healthcare professional, you can get the most out of your DMEs and enjoy a better quality of life.


Knowing the different types of durable medical equipment and how to use them safely is essential for those needing medical assistance. DMEs can help improve the quality of life and provide the support needed to live an independent life.

It is important to consult with your healthcare professional before deciding on a device, as well as familiarize yourself with safety precautions and regulations. Additionally, it is beneficial to research insurance coverage and reimbursement options before making decisions.

With the right information and support, you can find the perfect device for your needs and enjoy a better quality of life. 

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