For a few months I had been thinking that I needed to have some fun and get out into the world more.
After a chance conversation with my Physio with regards to my stiffness (as a result of sitting in my wheelchair all day), she suggested swimming. Good idea, but how? I was allocated a social worker who came to speak to me about possible funding and activities with a support worker, four hours per week for a year. .
Good, now funding allocated, to find the right support. I asked K S (Scope field worker) if she could recommend any support workers and she told me that a member of Scope in a similar situation had used Care Dynamics Yorkshire.
I contacted Care Dynamics Yorkshire and arranged a face to face home visit to discuss my needs and support package and what activities I might do, to use my allocated hours. Care Dynamics Yorkshire then sent four staff profiles for me to read and decide which ones I had interests in common with (the support workers are very well qualified in all aspects of care and mental health). I needed a support worker who could drive .This was a significant requirement as I can’t drive myself, yet I have an adapted Motability car. Care Dynamics Yorkshire also helped to arrange the correct insurance for the support worker(s)
Whilst all this was ongoing, I was advised by my social worker that I needed a risk assessment with the Physio at St Lukes hydrotherapy pool before I could go to a swimming pool. This meant that I had to get a referral letter from my GP, and then weeks on the waiting list to see the physio.
Over a period of 3 months, I had the initial visit to St Lukes assessment (out of water), followed by visits with my brother Philip and support workers Selwyn and Louise in the Pool.
The Physio gave us the all clear to go swimming and they recommended Bowling Pool which has great facilities for disabled swimmers including fantastic changing rooms and hoists, wheelchairs, appropriate floatation stations and rafts.
So I have now started to go swimming with the appropriate help and it feels wonderful to get out of my chair and feel the freedom of floating in the water.
As you can see it has not been something that has happened over night, but it is possible and it has made a major difference to the quality of my life.
The above is just one of my favourite activities. I have also been to watch Yorkshire County Cricket Club playing at Headingley. On this occasion I used up 10 of my allocated hours in one day. This is achieved by “banking” some time in a quiet week and saving those hours for a special occasion. I have also been out for meals to various places and am now enjoying having a massage from a therapist, all with the help of my support workers and office staff at Care Dynamics Yorkshire.