We were alarmed when we found out that over 70% of our guests spend more than seven hours per day in their wheelchair.
NHS Scotland currently recommends that anyone at high risk of developing pressure ulcers should not be seated for more than two hours without a change of position.
To compound matters, many of our guests don’t have the kind of adjustable chair they need to let them change position over the course of the day, and no one to help them get in and out of their wheelchair in order to relieve the build-up of pressure.
And so “the Leuchie MOT” was born…
We realised that here at Leuchie, we are in a unique position to offer anticipatory and preventative interventions to tackle potential problems before they reach crisis point as many of our guests find it increasingly difficult to access medical appointments as their condition worsens. We now carry out a comprehensive assessment of each of our guests’ physical and emotional needs within the first 48 hours of their arrival so that we can continually asses them throughout their stay, time that is not realistically available in the busy NHS and GP environments. We are equipped to help address issues like wheelchair assessments, poly pharmacy, physiotherapy, counselling, nutrition and moving and handling.
We have proven ourselves to be a key partner to the NHS over the last two years, making over 400 referrals to nurses, occupational therapists, GPs and the NHS on behalf of our guests, as well as over 1,000 wheelchair assessments leading to 409 in-house repairs and 230 referrals.
However, high-quality care does not come without a price tag.
It costs £181 per day for Leuchie to operate and raising this year after year is not an easy task. To help put into perspective the positive difference this service has on the lives of our guests, one of our regular, and most overwhelmingly positive guests’, Bob, wanted us to share his story to ask for your help and support.
“I was 61 years old before being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and was lucky enough to have a good life up until that point having travelled America, Australia and all over Europe as an international sales manager before spending a few fine years as a civil servant with the Crown Office. I was looking forward to retirement when life took an unexpected turn.
I began to experience numbness in my legs and, unlike many people who have to wait through years of tests, I was diagnosed almost immediately with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis. Through the next four years, I had a wonderful manager who went over and above to support me at work, but my health quickly deteriorated and it wasn’t long before I was forced to retire early due to the loss of mobility in my arms and legs.
I also tragically lost my wife to a brain tumour over the same period, leaving me living alone for the first time in 22 years and dependent on care workers to help with virtually all aspects of my life including eating, bathing, dressing, toileting and transferring me to and from my bed. The care I receive at home is excellent, and I’ve always felt lucky not to have been diagnosed with a terminal illness.”
Despite his sunny disposition though, Bob’s situation highlights the vulnerability of people living with long term conditions.
More often than not, those with long term conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, motor neurone disease and cerebral palsy become wheelchair users. It can be especially dangerous to their health if they’re unable to physically adjust their position over long periods of time.
For Bob, we were able to identify the need for a ‘tilt-in-space’ wheelchair and supported him to apply for one that allows him to electronically change position and prevent pressure from building up in one area, even when he was home alone.
Like many of our guests, Bob visits three to four times a year and each time he comes, we carry out a comprehensive assessment of his health. He loves having the opportunity to exercise and never misses a day of physiotherapy during his stay. After introducing him to a specialist piece of physio equipment called the MOTOmed, which assists him to move and workout his arms and legs, he was even able to get one for his home that his care workers help him to use.
Bob says, “Losing my independence has been the hardest part of having MS. I want to maintain as much of my health for as long as I can and Leuchie helps me do this. Plus, I get to chat with old friends I have met there over the years who are all in the same boat. It certainly helps me feel ‘normal’ again.”
Because we provide for both the physical and emotional wellbeing of our guests’ health, our services will always cost more than the simple provision of a hospital bed.
It is for this reason that we ask for your help. In order to offer an affordable and accessible service for people with long term conditions and their carers, Leuchie House offers respite breaks at a fraction of the cost it takes to actually deliver its service. It costs almost £36,000 per week to run Leuchie, at least £17,000 (or 46%) of which must be raised from voluntary donations and gifts in wills.
Your gift, no matter how small you may feel it is, makes a huge difference the lives of people like Bob, helping them continue to thrive and enjoy their quality of life.
To support our summer appeal, click here to make a donation now. Thank you.
- Call us to find out more 01620 892 864