Here at the ILC we see so many clients with various medical conditions and different areas of need that no two appointments are ever the same. To showcase some of the many ways our service has helped people, we would like to share some stories below. These stories are written by real clients in their own words, and are posted with their consent. We really appreciate the time our visitors have taken to write us such detailed narratives.
I heard about the ILC from my Occupational Therapist at the Mineral Water Hospital ‘Min’ (RNHRD, Bath), and have been in touch on and off over the past few years.
Most recently (August, 2019), I got back in touch to get advice about being assessed for an NHS self-propelled wheelchair. I have a wide range of health conditions that vary in intensity and which impact my ability to function on a daily basis. I struggle with my mobility due to chronic pain and fatigue caused by fibromyalgia, chronic back pain, severe degenerative spinal disc disease and osteoarthritis. I currently use walking sticks and a mobility scooter, because I find walking and standing painful and fatiguing. However, my needs are changing, and I want to remain as active and independent as possible. Using a self-propelled wheelchair will enable me to remain physically active and access areas where I can’t use the mobility scooter.
Christine Bott, Senior OT, has been fantastic! I often feel at times like I am a fraud, or have imposter syndrome, in that I have hidden disabilities that are not obvious to people. I am not a paraplegic, or an amputee, so I struggle to come to terms with needing mobility aids, and I worry about what other people may think of me. Christine has been very reassuring on this point and non-judgemental, I feel validated by her as a very experienced healthcare professional.
Christine assessed me for a self-propelled wheelchair and sent the forms off to the NHS Wheelchair Service for their approval. She showed me what an NHS wheelchair is like, and also brought in an independent provider to allow me the opportunity to try out a range of prescription self-propelled wheelchairs that are lighter weight for more active users.
The advantages of coming to the ILC is that I was given plenty of time to ask questions, be assessed and try out equipment. There was no pressure to purchase equipment. I was given the pros and cons of different options e.g. NHS wheelchair or paying privately for lighter weight one.
I have gained more knowledge about the world of wheelchairs! I never knew how vast and complex they are and there all sorts of things to consider such as, weight, being measured in a chair to get the fit right, adjustable back supports, cambered wheels etc, and that’s before colour! So my advice learning from previous experience, is that buying off the peg without being properly assessed can lead to problems. It’s worth the time and effort to get it right, just like buying a new car.
I had appealed against the decision to stop my Personal Independence Payment and a different organisation were going to represent me at the Tribunal.
I met the representative from the other organisation beforehand at the library and I explained everything about my PIP appeal and that I had suicidal thoughts, sensitivity to noise and really wanted to leave the library. The rep agreed to come with me to the appeal hearing.
But after that he didn’t answer messages that I had left on his phone. I thought he might be at the hearing but he wasn’t and hadn’t let me know.
The hearing was adjourned so I could find another representative. I contacted the ILC and Sheila wrote a submission and supported me through the hearing. The hearing was successful and my PIP was reinstated at the same rate as before. I am dyslexic and need people to read and write things for me. I couldn’t have managed this on my own.
More stories to follow…