Choice and Control

Firstly, thank you to all my readers and followers who have read my blog so far. I’m sorry there has been no new posts for awhile but the last month or so, since I posted has been very hectic.

I mentioned in a previous post that my PA’s were starting soon and that I would share with you lovely readers my journey. My two PA’s started the week of the 17th August 2020, both seem lovely and employing them is my first step back to choice and control since COVID-19. What I didn’t count on is that the agency that I’d contracted back in March 2020 to assist me while I was waiting for the paperwork on my PA’s to be processed and completed, (DBS checks took forever even before COVID-19,) would also want to start on the 17th August! That week I had seven different people come to my house! Worse still they were invited, I was putting myself through this mass meet of people in the hope that I gain freedom and control in the long run. There’s a well known expression about buses and them all coming along at once. After eight months of having no formal care suddenly people were everywhere!

This is very positive in one way as it gets things moving, it was obvious to me age eleven and is now even more obvious at thirty-four that I can’t rely on my family forever. They deserve choice and control as well! I’ve moved out from the family home three times in my life so far but it has never stuck permanently because of my lack of choice and control. It’s why I’m still fighting for a bigger care package as having the money to pay people for what I actually need would go a long way to removing barriers and afford me more choice. Money does that for everyone, disabled or not.

The actual care package, my petition to meet my needs isn’t going anywhere. Just recently my social worker applied for the emergency COVID-19 fund as CHC, (Continuing Health Care,) isn’t currently assessing people and was told I’m not eligible as I can use a Shewee!

Never fear lovely readers this isn’t going to become an in-depth account of my personal habits but for those of you who don’t know, a Shewee is a plastic device to enable women to pee standing up. Now I could do a whole separate post ranting about how if I could stand up I could probably transfer and not need the device in the first place! Let me know if your interested in reading that, but my current thinking is that I’ll bore you to death, so let me just say, in fairness, that some disabled people have apparently found it helpful. I’ve tried it and many variations thereof and am unable to use them sadly. Not to mention that this device, if useful, would only solve one of the things I need assistance with. My Social worker has advised me to put in an official complaint and I’m still waiting for the payroll paperwork to be completed in order for my PA’s to be on my payroll and have payslips every month, despite the fact that they have now been working for me for almost three weeks! #DirectPaymentHeadache.

In other, more exciting news. I’ve started writing for Access Rating as a content writer. The company is run by disabled people and they aim to improve disability access by offering businesses access audits and by use of an app that they have created, enabling anyone to download the app and rate nearby venues on their accessibility. I know it’s an idea that’s been done before via review websites but this is the first app that I know of. The rating system is really easy and takes less than 30 seconds, unless you really want to add in detail, in which case there’s space for that too. I’m really excited to be working with them as it helps me influence greater change for a more inclusive society. The app gives everyone the chance to have their say and is free to download so check it out and rate your corner of the world. 🙂

If you’ve checked out my facebook page recently you’ll see that I shared a link to BBC news which tells the struggle of a man in Wales to be allowed to manage his care package through a Personal Health Budget. You can probably tell that I am not a big fan of the way Social Care is run but I was genuinely shocked to learn that Personal Health Budgets aren’t an option in Wales! They may be a headache but they do offer the most control for a lot of people.

A Personal Health Budget is different to what I currently receive as I receive Direct Payments through Social Services. As I’m asking for a bigger care package my Social Worker is trying to get me funding via CHC. If this happens my needs will be fully funded but at least partially by the NHS. I could still receive my money as a Direct Payment but as things stand at the moment Rhys and others like him can’t, the NHS decides what he receives and who provides that. I’ve since reached out to Rhys and been given permission to send him some questions. I’m curious as to how he manages in a system which, according to everything I’ve read, takes away most, if not all, of his choices and I’m hoping I can assist in some way. I may be in limbo in many ways but at least I can choose who assists me.

I’m so grateful for this choice and having that inspires me to improve things for us all. This keeps me going, especially as for the last month both my electric wheelchairs require repairs! My private Power Chair has an as yet undiagnosed technical fault and the wheelchair given me by wheelchair services has unsuitable footplates and arm rests meaning I can’t leave the house in either one! I have two chairs and I only need one to be working. When I next post hopefully they will both be in working order. What was that about buses?

Until next time.

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