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Posts tagged ‘Occupational Therapist’

The Bathroom Saga – Part 1

Before the real work can begin………

The old flooring

I moved into my lovely wheelchair adapted flat at the beginning of last year. It is a great flat to live in and I’m happy and settled here. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered very quickly that my bathroom needed new flooring and a proper shower seat. As a temporary measure I bought I stand-alone shower seat. But due to the dip where the shower drains away it was very unstable. I needed a fixed shower seat. The flooring problem should have been equally easy to fix. I knew that would need authorisation from a Occupational Therapist (OT) from my local council. I had already been very unimpressed by the way my transfer of care hours had been handled. When the OT finally visited I was not surprised to discover that she was very unhelpful.

Having been responsible for the re-fitting of bathrooms in several nursing homes, it was obvious to me that the flooring was one that had been discontinued over 10 years ago. The reason being that it didn’t wear well, was difficult to clean and was very slippery when worn. The OT would have known this. Her tactic was to imply that I was making a lot of fuss about needing new flooring. I had ‘managed’ for 2 months so it clearly wasn’t unsafe. This was despite telling her I had slipped and fallen. I also explained I now needed someone with whilst I showered. Another loss of independence. 

Eventually, she reluctantly agreed new flooring and a fixed shower seat were needed. It look another 3 months for her report to get emailed to the housing manager where I live. 

About two months later, a firm of contractors turned up to fit the new seat. The fitter was a qualified OT. Instantly he knew that the seat she had ordered was the wrong one for me! More delay. Another month went by before the new seat was delivered. The day it was due to be fitted I was too ill to get out of bed. So the fitters did measurements from my wheelchair. Somehow, these were wrong. When I first used the seat I quickly discovered my feet did not touch the ground. So it was still too unsafe for me to use! It was also not fully against the wall, meaning my bathroom storage unit no longer fitted under the shower curtains. 

By this point I was too emotionally exhausted to try and get it fixed. But, in the back of my mind, I had a plan. After another 4 months my housing officer finally got round to getting estimates for replacing the flooring. When the chosen contractor spoke to me he agreed to move the shower seat whilst the floor was being done. He is also fitting a new bathroom radiator for me. The current one is too small and the bathroom always feels cold. Two new cupboards will also be fitted to the wall. All for cash in hand! 

I’m so looking forward to getting this work done. 

Part 2 – to follow on completion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trying to Move

I have been trying to move from my current flat for almost four years. It is unsuitable for me because I cannot get my electric wheelchair through the front door to charge it without folding it, which means taking the batteries out and lifting the chair and the batteries over two steps, something I have to rely on somebody else to do.

A few weeks ago I went to see a flat that should have been ideal for me, and with some adaptations it would be, but without them it is impossible for me. Ideally I need a walk/wheel in shower in the bathroom. I can just, but not very safely, manage to use a bath, manoeuvring myself onto a bath board but need
shower controls and the shower head to be within reach as my balance is too poor to allow me to stand.

The housing association who own the flat are willing to do the adaptations, but then a great big snag occurred. The flat I want to move to so I am nearer my family is in a different London borough from the one I’m now in.

Before the adaptations are undertaken I have to be assessed by an OT (Occupational Therapist) who will ensure that the controls are in the right place, the seat is safe and suitable and the grab rails are at the correct height. The OT from the borough in which I live is not allowed to assess me for a property outside the boundaries of the borough. When the OTs from the borough
I am moving to were contacted, the housing association was told that it is not possible for an OT assessment to be done on me unless I am already living in the borough!

Hence I am now in a catch 22 situation, wherever and whenever I move.

If I move before the adaptations are carried out I would have to wait to be assessed, then wait for funding to be agreed and then wait again for the work to be carried out. Before I moved into this flat, bathroom adaptations were needed and the whole process took about six months. This therefore makes moving and waiting a non-starter.

My wonderful new Motability car has a specially fitted electric hoist, so my wheelchair, complete with batteries, is hoisted in and out with minimal assistance from me. All of which is really great, and gives me a greater degree of independence that I have had for some years. But I still need to move to a
flat with level access so I can easily get my chair in through the front door and charge the batteries every few days.

I have no idea how long it will take me to move, all I know is that the housing association is; “trying to find a solution”.

All I can say is, ‘Please keep trying’, because the longer I stay where I am, the more trying it is for me!

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