Host: Edward, welcome back to the Health and Wellbeing show. How are you?
Edward: Thank you very much. I’m very well. Are you well?
Host: Yes, good, thank you. Two weeks ago, we were joined by your lovely colleague Brenda who works in the reception area, but this week, you’ve brought another colleague with you.
Edward: Yep, this week I’ve brought Wendy Hughes with me, who’s going to talk about the independent living side of what we do. Just to remind people, we’re from Cornwall Mobility Centre, which is located next to the Royal Cornwall Hospital on the Treliske site, just past the helipad - North buildings. We’ll talk a bit more about details later on, but for those new listeners to your program, we do two main things. One is around independent living, which Wendy is going to talk about, and the other thing is around vehicles and driving and adaptations which we fit to people’s cars in our own workshops on site. So anything to do with mobility and independent living in Cornwall and Devon, we’re the people you should be talking to. So without further ado, I’ll introduce Wendy Hughes, who’s been on before and is going to tell us about some of the stuff we do in independent living.
Host: Yes, I think Wendy you were on - I think it was one of the first weeks actually of Cornwall Mobility that you were with us. So we’re delighted to have you back on the show this week.
Wendy: Thank you.
Host: And I believe - the headline, I suppose, is ‘Centre visits versus home visits”
Wendy: Yes, yes. Basically, what I want to talk about is what people can expect if they want an assessment for a certain piece of equipment, such as a riser recliner, bath lifts - that type of thing - things that we can bring into a home and obviously items that we’ve got in the Centre as well. Obviously, if you come to the Centre, there’s more equipment to trial, and it’s great if you can come to the Centre because then you can get to try everything. If we do a home visit then we will obviously take as much detail from the client as possible, and find out what they are struggling it, and try and build up a picture so that whatever we take to the home environment - obviously we can’t decanter a whole showroom of equipment into somebody’s front room or bathroom, so we try and get as much detail as possible and bring it out to the client’s home. Again, some things to take into consideration on a home visit - it may be a client who has got dementia. A client who has got dementia will probably be more settled in their own home environment than they would in a strange environment, so sometimes it can be beneficial, assessment wise, to be able to do the assessment in the client’s home where they are comfortable, rather than to bring them into the Centre where it’s strange.
Host: And I suppose with the home visit, you can see what type of living environment that you’re working with in terms of the equipment.
Wendy: Thats’ the bonus. Yes. Again, if they come into the Centre, we ascertain as much detail as possible before we go to the client’s address because we need to know what the access is like. Especially when we’re taking items such as a riser recliner which can weigh anything up to about 70 kilos, we have to take into account ramps if we need to go up the steps, any furniture obstructions and where it is going to be situated, the type of flooring that it is going to be sitting on and that type of thing really. Current equipment, again, if a client is struggling getting in and out of the bath, they might think that they need to have the whole bathroom ripped out and a wetroom put in. It’s not always the case Once we have a picture of what they are struggling with and the kind of environment they live in, we try as much as possible to be able to utilize the equipment that they’ve got and maybe just add something extra that doesn’t mean they have to rip out the whole bathroom.
Host: Do you ever come across that, where people have just thought - “Oh no, I need to get rid of all this. I need to throw money at something”?
Wendy: Yes, because they don’t know what’s out there.
Wendy: They really don’t know what’s out there. If somebody is struggling to get in and out of a bath, they might think, “Oh, I have to have a wetroom put in and I need to rip out the bath.” It’s not always the case.
Edward: Quite often, when something terrible happens like a stroke or something like that, clearly people care for their families and they want to do the best for them, and so the temptation is immediately to rush out and buy what they perceive to be the best solution, whereas that isn’t always necessarily the case.
Wendy: No. Things like bath lifts - there’s loads of things out there on the internet, and I would say to anybody, come in and see the equipment. Don’t just go out and buy something that you’ve never seen or never trialled. If you come into the Centre, there’s different types of bath lifts in our assessment bathroom that you can try, and equally again, if they can’t come into the Centre, we will bring it to the client’s home. Factors to consider are the types of baths that you’ve got. For instance, the bath lifts that you can put inside the bath that can lift people in and out, they’re not good to adhere to a bath that’s got a rippled bottom so the suckers - it needs to be a level bath. That’s things to consider. And it is possible to put a bath lift into a corner bath, but it’s always best to trial these things first. For example, there’s inflatable bath lifts out there that are like a bubble of air that rise up to the top and go hard using the compressor, and the client can sit on it and when they put their finger on the button, it takes them down to the bottom of the bath. Those type of bath lifts, for example, might not be good for anyone who has had a stroke or an amputation because it can alter the centre of gravity and the core strength. It might make them a bit wobbly. A static, more firmer bath lift that will take them up and down that is not on a bubble of air will probably be more beneficial to somebody like that. So it is a case of trying the equipment first and see how it works for you, because to go out there and pay a few hundred pounds for something and you take it home and it doesn’t work, then it’s not always good. It’s always great to try it first.
Edward: One of the things that people may be thinking is - how does this work financially? I mean we are a charity and so as a result, we’re able to do visits and assessments at the Centre for free for the end-user, but then clearly, if equipment needs to be purchased, then that needs to be paid for. But there are other ways through it as well. There is assistance available, which we can advise on. It’s worth remembering that there is a voucher scheme available.
Wendy: Yeah, if you contact your OT (Occupational Therapist) through Social Services, they can give you more information on the voucher scheme and how it can help towards funding equipment that you may need.
Host: Great, so there is support.
Wendy: There is support out there.
Wendy: We do riser recliner assessments for larger piece of equipment, and also for bathrooms. There are different types of bath lifts out there. And even advising on grab rails and different items of safety equipment to help them get in and out of the bath safely - safe transfers really. And that’s all down to the assessment as well. There’s different bits of equipment out there, definitely, and it’s all down to the individual assessment with each person as to how they manage their practices of daily living, and how we can help to achieve their best potential, really.
Host: So if you were going to go to a home visit or if someone was to have a home visit, who would come along? Would it just be somebody like yourself from Cornwall Mobility?
Wendy: We will do home visits. It will be one of the assessors such as myself that will come out on the home visit. We also work with healthcare professionals, so if it’s something to do with the physical side of transfers or the occupational therapy side of things, we will meet the heathcare professional at the client’s address or at the Centre - whichever is suitable to the client - and then we will workout the picture together and find the best solution for them.
Host: Wendy, well, thank you very much for all that advice and expertise there, and I think it’s important just to reiterate. These home visits and Centre visits - these assessments that you do are free.
Wendy: They are free, they are free. And I can’t emphasize enough that coming into the Centre and actually seeing what’s out there is really important. You can buy things off the internet, you can go to the high street shops but the assessment at the Centre is free and you really do need to come in and try the equipment before you buy them.
Host: Because at the end of the day, you’re going to be the one using it and the most important thing is that you’re comfortable and that type of thing. And then with the assessment, you can get the most comfortable equipment. You will find out what you need to make you the most comfortable.
Wendy: That’s right.
Host: Well, thank you very much for that. Edward, if people are interested in either home visits or Centre visits, how can they get in contact?
Edward: Well, the way to get in touch is either to telephone us, which is always good, which is Truro which is 01872 254920, or through our website, which is www.cornwallmobility.co.uk. I think it’s also worth saying, Alisha, that in addition to the idea of assessment and equipment supply, we actually have our own engineers in workshops and any equipment that is purchased from us is fully backed up with repair, maintenance and warranty, which is something, again, Wendy mentioned about buying things over the internet. It’s something that isn’t so immediately accessible if you purchase something over the internet, but we are a complete service from that point of view, and so we would take very good care of you.
Host: Well, Edward and Wendy, thank you very much for your time.
Wendy: Thank you very much.
Edward: Thanks. Bye.