Wednesday, July 25, 2007

'Too fat' for a stairlift

The following article appeared in the Manchester Evening News.

Bethan Dorsett 25/ 7/2007

A DISABLED pensioner can't have a stairlift in her home - because she is 'too fat'.Sylvia Hocking, who suffers badly with arthritis, applied to Rochdale council for the lift because she finds it difficult to climb the stairs of her home in Kirkholt. But the 66-year-old gran of two was told by the adult care service that, because she weighs 24st, she has reached the maximum weight limit for a stairlift.

Her request will be reviewed in three months, but only if she loses weight. Mrs Hocking claims she has shed over two stone since she went on a crash diet, but needs urgent help from the council. She said: "I feel abandoned. I have to use a chemical toilet in the kitchen because I can't get up and down the stairs due to pain in my knees and right ankle. "If there comes a time when I lose enough weight and don't need the lift any more then they can take it out, but at the moment I desperately need it." I have severe breathing problems and my doctor says I am on the verge of heart failure because of my weight." It might be months before I lose enough weight to get about the house.

"I am already on a diet and I plan to lose 10st." Mrs Hocking says she was initially informed she was eligible for a stairlift but has now been told her weight is on the borderline for the maximum it can take. A letter from a council occupational therapist said it had been decided to allow her 'time to achieve her goal of weight reduction'.The letter continued: "Your GP has informed us that much of your current mobility problems are due to your weight. "The projected weight loss should significantly increase your mobility." Peta Douglass, for the adult care service, said: "When we originally assessed Mrs Hocking, we had to rule out the option of a stairlift. "The company which provided the lift said that it could not guarantee her safety because of her weight." We had considered other options, but Mrs Hocking said she was on a diet and we agreed to contact her in a few weeks when, potentially, she would have lost weight." We will now arrange to see Mrs Hocking, when we will consider whether a stairlift is the best option to safely meet her needs."

Friday, July 20, 2007

Six year old dies in tragic stairlift accident

This terrible story highlights the importance of using professionals when having a stairlift installed. Although it may cost a little more, an experienced stairlift engineer would never make this type of mistake when installing a stairlift. Certain manufacturers are encouraging the sale of self-install stairlifts, particularly in the US, in my opinion it is just not worth the risk.

SIX-year-old dies in tragic stairlift accident - inquest
Oliver Mapp

A SIX-YEAR-OLD Bolton-le-Sands boy killed in a stairlift accident at his great-grandmother's home would not have died if it was correctly installed, an inquest heard.

Oliver Mapp was playing on the lift on January 28 when he fell and his head became trapped between its footplate and the stair tread. The lift continued to rise up the stairs and Oliver's grandad Robert, who struggled to save him, was unable to stop it, he told Tuesday's inquest.

His grandparents Robert and Pauline had been taking him to visit his great-grandmother Eileen Meeson at her home in Oakengates, Telford, to wish her happy birthday. Michael Gwynne, Telford and Wrekin coroner, recorded a verdict of accidental death.

James Rennie, a consultant forensic engineer, told the court that some safety devices in the lift were not working correctly. Oliver's uncle Stefan Wood, from Telford, told how he had moved the lift from a house without the help of a professional or a manual. Mr Rennie said, because it was installed on the right side of the stairs rather than the left as it had been previously, its obstruction contactor trips were not working. This meant that when Oliver's head was pressing against the trips it would not reverse and free him.

Coroner Mr Gwynne said: "It was those safety devices which failed so far as Oliver was concerned. If they had been in place and working we wouldn't be here today." Mr Rennie also told the inquest children should not be allowed to play on stairlifts. "Stairlifts should be installed by somebody who knows what they are doing," he said. Doctor Edmund Tapp, consultant pathologist, told the inquest Oliver had become unconscious, gone into cardiac arrest and died immediately, although he was not recorded dead until later in hospital.

His cause of death was a head injury which had fractured his skull. Oliver's dad Darren, a retained firefighter at Bolton-le-Sands fire station, and mum Louise, a nurse, travelled down to Shropshire after the accident and were being comforted by other family members in the Telford area. Louise told the inquest he was a "happy and lovely boy". Oliver was a pupil of Bolton-le-Sands CE Primary School.

Friday, July 06, 2007

MCSC Stair lifts

From the Strabane Chronicle.

Mc Gill calls on Minister to ensue funding is released for stair lift adaptations

West Tyrone Sinn Fein MLA Claire Mc Gill has asked the Minister of Health Minister Michael Mc Gimpsey to intervene to ensure that 16 stair lift adaptations in the former Sperrin Lakeland Trust area can proceed.

She says,

"There are currently 16 people in the former Sperrin Lakeland Trust area awaiting stair lift adaptations to their homes. These installations have been fully assessed and approved by the Occupational Therapists and the delay in the release of funding to allow the necessary work to proceed is causing great hardship for those awaiting these essential disability adaptations.

"The delay in the release of funding has meant that many of those awaiting the adaptations have been totally confined to the downstairs area of their homes for months now and are being forced to sleep in their living rooms.

I have therefore asked Health Minister Michael Mc Gimpsey to intervene to ensure that the necessary funding for these stair lift adaptations is released as a matter of urgency.