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Thread: first wheelchair

  1. #21
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    This is an abbreviated version- does it sound ok? I have been with my employer since 2008 and have been in my current role with them since 2013. My role involves responding to any form of communication (mainly via telephone or e-mail) for most of the back-office departments of the Authority. I work 21 hours a week- one hour of which at the end of my shift is lone working.

    I have had M.E and various neurological symptoms since 2009. Since that time I suffered falls, sickness from work and ill health and reduced mobility both inside and outside of work. I have had to be redeployed from one full-time role into another lower grade part-time role and have lost significant income due to this. I suffer from severe pain, fatigue, weakness, visual loss, sudden onset paralysis, nausea and vomiting, balance issues and many other symptoms which mean that mobilising anywhere for me can be a challenge which reduces my quality of life and my ability to participate with a lot of activities both inside and outside of the workplace. I have had to increase my opiate dosage to try and cope with my worsening symptoms, however this causes it’s own challenges due to the side effects of taking opiates and I also can’t titrate the dosage high enough to cope with the pain and be able to do my role effectively. I am currently getting into the workplace over an hour before my shift starts in order to ensure I can get a parking space in the limited car park and recuperate from the short distance into work and for the painkillers to start to work- however, this is no longer effective and I am becoming unable to mobilise due to the pain and fatigue.

    I am unable to take public transport due to the distance from the bus stop despite my local bus being a low-entrance one. I am also concerned that I may not be able to continue driving due to visual loss and without a wheelchair public transport will also be removed as an option for me.

    I have spoken to two wheelchair sales assessors who have recommended the Quickie Helium with e-motion wheels. This is due to the lightweight frame and portability of the Helium combined with the assistance from the power-assisted wheels means that I can be independent without suffering from fatigue or pain and would mean I could get into work at an appropriate time, reduce my painkillers and be a more effective employee.

    I have tried using a standard manual folding wheelchair but found it too cumbersome and difficult to push and setup independently. I have also tried using a ‘portable’ mobility scooter and a ‘portable’ power chair but again found this too heavy to use on my own, too difficult to control and too unstable to be able to use safely.

    If I was provided with this particular set of aids I would be able to either use public transport or drive, it would be less critical being able to park as close as possible to my office and I could also be more flexible in my working hours, cease having to arrive at the workplace so early and no longer be restricted in taking breaks. I would also be much more independent and less reliant on others and be more able to participate in work place activities (I experience increased pain when having to attend meetings outside of the office due to the distance).

    The financial effects of the wheelchair and power-assisted wheels not being provided far outweigh the outlay of these aids as without them it will result in increased sick leave which will incur a cost to my employer, a compromised ability to do my job, and funding for travel costs and a support worker to assist me into work.

    By having these aids my quality of life and ability to be mobile would increase hugely. I would suffer less pain, be able to participate more and be able to use other transportation options which were previously closed to me. I would also like to hope that I would have even less sick leave, my symptoms would reduce and my independence increase. By using a wheelchair with e-motion wheels I would be at less risk of falls, would be able to rest when appropriate and mobilise with minimal effort.

    I am not asking for anything extravagant- just the ability to be mobile independently and continue to be an effective employee.
    Last edited by helatruralhome; 26-04-16 at 09:41.

  2. #22
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    duplicate post- deleted
    Last edited by helatruralhome; 26-04-16 at 18:23.

  3. #23
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    I think you have the content but it would good to add some additional structure. This will assist the ATW assessor and provide them with the information they will need.

    Break the letter down in to individual sections/chapters, for example:
    1. Personal Details
    2. Employer Details
    3. Job Profile
    Etc

    Adding a table with a breakdown of the costs is a good idea. As the aim of the ATW funding is to maintain you in work as cost effectively as possible you will need to justify each additional cost item. It's the bigger ticket items they'll be looking at so focus on those.

    Remember ATW is about keeping you in work, so using such phrases as 'remaining in the workplace' and 'ability to keep working' are useful things t add.
    No single thing can define me; not my work, not my politics, not my hobbies, not my vices and not my disability. I'm way more complex than that!

  4. #24
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    Thanks for that- I've broken it down at bit into sections. I'm seeing the Occy Health GP tomorrow and I'm going to ask if he can refer me to NHS wheelchair services if possible. My boss said they may be able to help me without having to deal with AtW so I'll see what she says tomorrow- I have also added 'I’ve always found the Authority to be a supportive employer and I’d be happy to voice how the authority helps their disabled employees remain in work by providing such aids' this and I'm going to see if this may help as our local authority haven't had particularly good press recently so this may give them an incentive to help me

  5. #25
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    I'm glad it's progressing. Especially after the initial bad experience with ATW.

    Let us know how you get on
    No single thing can define me; not my work, not my politics, not my hobbies, not my vices and not my disability. I'm way more complex than that!

  6. #26
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    Do persist with this. Over the years I've found Access to Work a bit unpredictable and variable in terms of what they will agree to fund. My employer bought me a power wheelchair to use at work, some years ago. I use my own to get from the car into work. Everything I use is needing an update, working out best solution isn't easy - it's good you know what you would like.

    Good luck, I'm sure it will be ok for you.

  7. #27
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    Thank you. I saw my employer's Occy Health GP today who agreed that I need a wheelchair so I've emailed AtW to let them know and attached my 'business case' and a supporting letter from a charity for people with disabilities so fingers crossed....

  8. #28
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    As an update it wasn't good news- GP wasn't willing to refer me as she said it isn't something she does- the OT's should do it. I spoke to the OT's who said that they were happy to refer me but I need to be assessed first and there is an 8-10 month wait for that so potentially 18 months before I get to wheelchair services! I then asked if my employer/occy health could help part-fund even a second hand chair as I found a rigid chair at £500 in the approximate size and all they said was facilities were happy to wheel me in from the car park so basically I've hit brick walls everywhere unfortunately and as I can't wait several months for appeals, etc as I'm currently without a chair I've bitten the bullet and bought a Quickie Argon Ti on my credit card It annoys me though as My employer was happy to pay £700 each for standing desks for people with bad backs but not help part-fund a wheelchair for me with bad legs...

  9. #29
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    Reddivine & Lightdrive

    I;ve only just come across this thread. Seems you wanted more than what one wheelchair can reasonably do. Off road wheelies do grass, gravel woodland and I have just been trying some at Naidex....but verrrrry expensive.
    If you don't have much upper body strength , like me or Lighttouch, we ended up with add-on motor. good for paths, compacted gravel and urban environments. YES its expensive. I only afforded it thru applying for grants, as the very idea of something thst is NOT electric and NOT manual seems more than wheelchair services can cope with.

    http://www.benoitsolutions.co.uk/ this video shows the Benoit Lightdrive in action. Developed by the french and not widely know - we were stopped 4 times at Naidex by folks saying "OooH, how does THAT work?" LT saw me in action at MS Life and I saw someone else at a mobility show.

    https://www.turn2us.org.uk/ these ppl can tell you of charities and grant-making bodies.

    I have to say the "hubcap" design of motor HAS improved, four years ago I decided AGAINST them, as they made the wheels so heavy.

    But design now make them smaller and lighter. I'll add a few more links later
    Last edited by reddivine; 01-05-16 at 07:58. Reason: unfinished

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