And their slippery cousins, insurance and litigation.
Today I got some answers to my questions about Smiley's broken wheelchair and buggy. And basically it looks like her quality of life is in danger of being offered up to the gods of health and safety, as required by insurance companies, and the fear of litigation. It's not the fault of the team I met with this morning, they were very helpful, but I guess that it is not possible for them to go against the system.
Reading between the lines of what I was told this morning I discovered the following:
...Health and safety is probably why there are no spare wheelchairs for children with complex needs - because unless specifically prescribed for that child, there would be no insurance cover. So that means bed-rest and floor-time if her transport breaks.
...I may never get her buggy back even though I have offered to pay for the repairs myself. It is likely that the company fear that I will sue them if anything should happen to my daughter while she travels in it, as she is now marginally over the weight limit. I understand that. But weight limits all have a margin of error don't they? They must. Because that is how insurance companies work. That's how they keep claims low and profits high.
It was suggested that I should check out some wheelchair crash test videos on YouTube. Well no thanks, I worry enough about my daughter already. I know that Smiley is vulnerable. There are so many places where she is less safe than other people. I even worry about taking her on the boat, and how I would manage her in an emergency. To completely protect her, we'd never go anywhere, but what sort of a life would that be?
What I am looking for is something smaller and sturdier, that I can accessorise to suit the Irish weather, so that she can continue with the active life that she so enjoys :)
The company representative I met today was also helpful and together with the occupational therapist (OT) we have one possible plan. Her current wheelchair consists of a moulded seat and a frame. The OT would prefer her to continue to use this seat, so one solution may be to buy/make a new smaller frame and attach her existing seat to it. I should get news on this in a week or so, and in the meantime I have to meet with another company in a few days time.
Well that's another rant over, and I promise that as soon as something entertaining happens in my life, I will blog about it!