AADL compression stockings information

How to maintain healthy legs

  1. Trim toenails regularly; seek a professional trained in nail and footcare if you are not able to do this for yourself.
  2. Elevate legs as often as possible; elevating your legs above the level of your heart is best.
  3. Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes that fit your feet well.
  4. Limit long periods of time in direct sunlight.
  5. Wear loose fitting clothing; avoid clothing that binds at the hips or groin.
  6. Limit salty foods and try to drink at least 6–8 glasses of water each day.
  7. Maintain a healthy weight; exercise regularly.
  8. Limit alcoholic drinks.
  9. Stop smoking!
  10. Avoid standing for long periods of time. When you stand still, blood flow slows down and can cause the veins in your legs to fill up and swell.
  11. Be smoke-free. Smoking or living in a smoking environment can reduce circulation in your legs.
  12. Control your diet. Follow the Canada Food Guide and eat a balanced diet of fruits, grains, vegetables, milk products and protein with reduced sodium (salt) intake.
  13. Get active! Exercise gets your muscles working and increases the blood flow to your legs and heart. Need help getting started? Consult a health care professional, like a registered nurse, occupational therapist or physiotherapist.
  14. Avoid hot baths or showers. The heat can cause your legs to swell so it is best to use warm water. Protect your skin by patting it dry – it is gentler than rubbing. Moisturizing after your shower or bath will allow your skin to absorb the moisture. Note: Moisturize at night as lotion can break down stockings.

Eligibility for compression stockings

To qualify for compression stockings from AADL, you must:

  • be an Alberta resident;
  • have a valid and active Alberta Personal Health Card;
  • be assessed by an AADL authorizer.

AADL provides some funding for up to three pairs of compression stockings every 12 months to Albertans who meet CEAP criteria C4 or C5 or with chronic lymphedema. Funding is provided only when leg swelling has been reduced.

Compression stockings should be worn every day to provide support unless you are sick or spending the day in bed and should be removed at night. If your legs continue to swell, return to a doctor or healthcare professional.

The program does not provide funding for:

  • simple varices
  • swelling
  • reduced/achy feeling in the legs
  • Arterial Insufficiency
  • pre- or post-surgery needs
  • unresolved wound
  • short-term intervention such as treatment for deep vein thrombosis
  • problems related to blood pressure (high or low)
  • osteoarthritis
  • complications from pregnancy, such as swelling
  • clients with a family history of chronic venous insufficiency/lymphedema and are  looking for funding for prevention

Get you legs assessed

  • The AADL authorizer performs assessments in a community health clinic, home care office, a regional health authority, Community  Aids to Independent Living office, or in the hospital.
  • This includes checking for leg swelling and circulation, skin discoloration, and obtaining leg pulses.
  • If you are eligible for compression stockings from AADL, the authorizer will provide you with an authorization form as well as any other information you need. You will also receive a list of AADL vendors in your area where you may go to get your compression stockings.
  • An authorizer must complete the assessment and authorization process prior to you receiving your compression stockings.
  • There is generally a 4–6 week period from the time of assessment until you will be able to pick up your stockings.

Where to get compression stockings

  • Go to one of the AADL vendors on the list given to you by the AADL authorizer. You cannot go to an unauthorized vendor or a regular department store to get your compression stockings.
  • Take the authorization form that was given to you and present it to the vendor.
  • AADL vendors do not assess or authorize clients for compression stockings. However, if the AADL authorizer did not measure your leg(s) for compression stockings, trained staff at the AADL vendor will do so.

Make sure the stockings will fit

  • To ensure the compression stockings fit properly and provide support, go to the vendor as early in the morning as possible. Leg swelling will be the least at this time. If your legs are swollen, they will have to be elevated for a minimum of 45 minutes before a measurement can be taken.
  • The AADL vendor should give you several manufacturers’ brands of compression stockings to try on. There are 3 different lengths of compression stockings: below the knee, thigh high and pantyhose. Knee high is the most common length and can address most medical conditions.
  • Your health care professional will determine what length of compression stockings you medically need.
  • Funding for pantyhose is not provided unless problems with your leg veins extend into the groin area. If you want pantyhose, but do not qualify, you will pay the difference between the 2 lengths.
  • You should be able to put on and take off your compression stockings yourself before taking a pair home. If not, the vendor will call your authorizer.
  • Please note: compression stockings are non-refundable for sanitary reasons (unless you have been fitted incorrectly).

Paying for your compression stockings

  • AADL provides assistance for up to 3 pairs of readymade compression stockings every 12 months. You will initially be permitted 1 pair of compression stockings to ensure you are able to wear the stockings and they fit properly. After 2–3 weeks, you will be refitted and receive your other pairs of appropriate stockings.
  • Under the program, clients pay 25% of the cost of the stockings to the AADL vendor. The AADL vendor will bill AADL directly for the remaining 75%.
  • There are exemptions from cost-share for low-income clients. Read more about cost-share exemption.
  • The AADL program pays a pre-determined price for compression stockings, called a benchmark price. Each vendor is required to a type of garment at the benchmark price. If you want a more expensive brand or a different length, you will have to pay the cost difference between the benchmark price and the price of the product you choose.
  • AADL does not reimburse clients or pay for compression stockings purchased before an authorization has been done by an AADL authorizer.

Caring for your stockings

Compression stockings should be hand washed daily. Do not wring out the stockings or put them in the washer or dryer. Press water out by placing them between layers of towels.

Hang or lay flat to dry. Refer to the instructions in your product brochure for more specific instructions about the care of your stockings. Note: Lotion can break down the fibres in your stockings, so it is best to moisturize your legs at night.

If you have problems putting on or taking off your compression stockings, contact your AADL authorizer or vendor. They may suggest stocking aids to help you, or a family member may have to assist you. Wearing rubber gloves when putting on or taking off, and keeping your finger and toenails trimmed can help to prevent tearing or holes.

Follow-up

After you receive your first pair of compression stockings, an AADL authorizer may contact you and ask the following questions:

  • Are you wearing your compression stockings every day?
  • Are you able to put on and take off your compression stockings?
  • Do your compression stockings fit?
  • Does your leg swelling continue to be reduced?

Replacements

Your AADL authorizer will determine when your next reassessment will be required.

The AADL program does not replace compression stockings if they are lost, stolen, damaged or ripped. Under these circumstances, clients are responsible for their replacement.