Roy’s Story

I was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis in 2000. As a result of my condition I have, bilateral lower limb weakness, poor balance, leg tremors, fatigue and bladder spasms. I am a wheelchair user and due to the severity of my condition and complex needs, I require carers for all aspects of my personal care.

I lived in a one bedroom flat which was not wheelchair accessible and had limited space. I was restricted to a small living room where I sat from morning until night. I required an electric wheelchair, but was advised by an Occupational Therapist that my property could not be adapted and the wheelchair would not fit due to the cramped space I was living in.

I expressed my concerns to the Local Authority and my Social Worker but no immediate action was taken.

“I was forced to live my life in a chair, facing isolation and depression”

I instructed the Disability Law Service on the 13th March 2015 as my condition was deteriorating, and I required assistance to help challenge the Local Authority in their failed duty of care.

My care package consisted of 4 hours per day, and 1.5 hours per week for shopping. My care package did not remotely meet the level of care that I required, and did not cover enough time to carry out the transfers, meal preparation and personal care. My package did not contain any hours for me to access the community.

I was unable to manage my toileting needs due to the care provision that was in place, which led to internal blockages and being admitted into Hospital for emergency treatment.

Disability Law Service requested interim care pending completion of a review of my needs, and immediate steps to be taken to find suitable accommodation. They received no response to this letter, and so a letter before action was sent outlining my rights under the Care Act 2014, and the right to be place in suitable accommodation due to my complex needs.

Again, the Local Authority failed to respond. Disability Law Service applied for Legal Aid as the matter was not suitable for the complaints system or the Local Government Ombudsman due to the time frames involved.

They argued that my safety and liberty was at risk due to the conditions that I was living in. The Local Authority failed under their duties under S18 and S19 of the Care Act 2014, and failed to take note of the urgency of the matter despite their knowledge of the effects it had on my health and well-being. Disability Law Service also challenged the Council in my unmet need under the Care and Support (Eligibility Criteria) Regulations 2014, section 2(2) (g) and (i).

“I was forced to choose between washing or eating because there was not enough time to carry out both tasks”

A re-assessment of my needs was taken and I was provided with additional time in the morning to manage my personal needs.

I moved into my new adapted flat towards the end of November 2015. I now have space for an electric wheelchair, and an increased care package to meet my eligible needs.

Had I not received the advice and assistance I did, then I would have still been in my one bedroom flat facing isolation with my health rapidly deteriorating.

DISCLAIMER
Names have been changed to protect identity.

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