Disability aids, equipment and technology
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How do I go about getting a wheelchair assessment?

Hi,

last year a physio asked me why have I not got a wheelchair? I have hypermobility Syndrome and fibromyalgia.  My knees are the worse.  She refused to write to my GP.

I asked my then GP said Social Services.  I asked and was told they don’t do them.   I moved on grounds of DV in April, my housing officer said as my flat is small, if and when I get the assessment for a wheelchair they will put me on list for a bigger place.

In May I was diagnosed with Fibro and was agreed to sort an assessment out with ot from hospital. However due to move the hospital is difficult to get to without a lift.  I don’t drive (yet).  Anyway they wanted me there at 9am... I could not get there for this time.  So I asked to be transferred locally, which I was waiting on. Anyway a complaint to hospital about other things and discover they decide I need a wheelchair for outside only, how? No assessment has been done.  And have been left without yet again. My legs lock regular, in and out of home and I fall a lot. My balance is not great either.  However, no one has done an assessment, I don’t know how to go about one,no referrals made or anything sent to my GP regarding needing one for out doors,  What chair do I get? I’m also 5ft and what size? I am left with just the ink on the paper and stating this and confused. Also how do I store one in my small flat? How do I get in my small flat with one as doors are not very wide?

Any help or suggestions please?

Thank you

Replies

  • Jean_OTJean_OT Member Posts: 528 Pioneering
    Hi @angie610m

    Sorry to hear about the difficulties that you are having in obtaining  a wheelchair.

    There really are only too routes to obtaining a wheelchair, via the NHS wheelchair service or privately which might also include getting some assistance from charities towards the cost.

    Getting an NHS wheelchair involves attending  a Wheelchair Clinic for a full assessment before the staff there decide what, if anything, the disabled person will be allocated. The disabled person needs to be referred to the Wheelchair Clinic, this is normally done by their GP but could also be other health professionals working with them (e.g. Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Hospital Consultants ) if they feel there is a clinical necessity to do so. 

    It appears that perhaps in your case that communication has broken down leaving you unsure what is happening about getting an appointment to be seen at the Wheelchair Clinic. Your GP should be able to clarify if there is a referral in the system and chase it up if necessary.

    Alternatively you could contact the Wheelchair Clinic yourself to see if they have a referral for you, their details might be found at:  http://www.wheelchairmanagers.nhs.uk/services.html

    I'm not overly surprised that it seems that somewhere in your paperwork a professional (OT?) had written that in their opinion you needed a wheelchair for outdoor use only. Generally speaking if a person is capable of walking at all they would be encouraged to maintain this skill within the relative safety of the home even if they needed to use a wheelchair outdoors for longer distance. Sometimes, some adaptations are necessary within the home to make it safer for the disabled person to walk around it (handrails, walking aids, removing trip hazards etc).  The majority of wheelchair users are people who mainly use them outside. However, the Wheelchair Clinic staff will still conduct their own assessment and advise accordingly. 

    If you decide to obtain a wheelchair privately it would still be wise to get professional advice about what you need. You might be interested in this  information on how to choose a wheelchair, it includes advice on measuring to get the correct size:  https://www.dlf.org.uk/factsheets/manual-wheelchairs

    In answer to your specific question about how to enter your flat and how to store your wheelchair, the solution to this (assuming you maintain some walking ability) maybe to buy a folding wheelchair.  

    If in the future you get offered a hospital appointment that you would struggle to attend because of transport difficulties do check out if the 'non-emergency patient transport service' is available for you: https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/nhs-services-and-treatments/how-do-i-organise-transport-to-and-from-hospital/ 

    Best Wishes

    Jean

    Jean Merrilees BSc MRCOT

    You can read more of my posts at: https://community.scope.org.uk/categories/ask-an-occupational-therapist

  • angie610mangie610m Member Posts: 13 Listener
    edited October 2018
    Hi Jean,

    Thank you for your reply.  And thank you for the information. I have a few hospital apps in next couple weeks (dying down. Nov 14th), I will be able to book an apt with my GP around then.

    I plan to take the letter it states about needing one outside too, as back up.


    It does seem this way, regarding lost communication.  This is all I’m asking for but no one seems to be assisting, you have and thank you. Thank you for your time and lengthy and helpful advice.

    kind regards

    Angie
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