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Stout Vocational Rehab Institute offers free wheelchair clinic

Eau Claire (WQOW) — People who rely on wheelchairs know they’re basically a lifeline, but they’re also expensive to own and maintain.

UW-Stout’s Vocational Rehabilitation Institute (SVRI) provides a wide array of services to people with disabilities.

“Assistive technology requires maintenance, especially mobility equipment,” said Hayley Bollinger, an assistive technologist at SVRI. “It’s important to maintain your equipment to extend its life. When that equipment breaks down, it can be really catastrophic for that person.”

SVRI’s mission is to help people be more independent at work or at home. A free service they offer to help individuals maintain their mobility, a wheelchair maintenance clinic.

“If we were going to provide assistive technology services, we should also provide the maintenance as well,” added Bollinger.

The clinic has been offered for over a decade, but Bollinger said SVRI wants to spread its reach. She said just like a car, not everyone knows how to spot a problem on a wheelchair, or how to fix one.

“Enhancing their freedom is the key,” said Bollinger. “Making sure their equipment is being repaired properly, and that we’re giving good solutions, safe solutions to help that person with their independence, feels really good.”

The next wheelchair clinic is Monday, August 12 and Tuesday, August 13 (noon to 4 p.m.) in the SVRI building. There will be parking available in lot 28, along with signs to direct you. You can contact Bollinger if you’d like to schedule an appointment (by email: or by phone: 715-232-2248). If you’d like to help at the clinic, Bollinger said you need to have assistive technology certification, to be able to properly work on assistive equipment.

Samantha Wensel

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