Welcome to the Independent Living newsletter.
19.04.17 Contents:
Putting on the pressure
Inaccessible housing – even in Barbie world
How much pain is enough?
EHRC does legal support
Derek's View – Kinderkey Stellan
Latest news – door entry project; Attendance Allowance
1. Putting on the pressure

It is something that makes most of us angry - pressure ulcers. Almost entirely preventable with proper care, they seem to be tolerated much too readily in hospitals and care homes.

We have an interesting new article written by our nutrition expert Mary Farmer, who set out to train in nursing, at a time when any nurse who was responsible for a patient who developed a pressure sore was fired!

Despite great technological developments which make pressure management easier and more effective, the NHS sadly does not have a zero tolerance approach to pressure ulcers any more...

You can read her article here


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2. Inaccessible housing – even in Barbie world

Toys that reflect the diverse reality of life always receive a warm welcome: they have been few and far between for too long.

Mattel, the makers of Barbie, received much acclaim when they launched Share-a-Smile Becky, Barbie's wheelchair-using friend, and Becky proved to be a big hit, with 6000 dolls being sold in the first two weeks.

But customers soon discovered Becky had a problem that will be all-too-familiar to her full-size counterparts. Barbie's house was completely inaccessible in a wheelchair…

This was 20 years ago, and you would think that subsequent tweakings of the range might sort out the situation. But you would be wrong. The toymakers did, apparently, consider shrinking Becky's wheelchair to fit, but adapting the housing stock to suit all the occupants wasn't on the agenda.

Today, Becky has been discontinued, and the Barbie house is as inaccessible as it ever was.

Back in Britain, the EHRC has just finished a consultation on accessible housing – the report should be available by the end of the year.


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3. How much pain is enough?

Anybody who has osteoarthritis will know that it is very painful. Mobility, muscle strength and balance can be quickly lost, as sufferers seek to minimise movement in order to try and keep the pain in check.

But how much suffering is enough for you to qualify for hip or knee surgery? Despite the fact that NICE guidance has found "no evidence" to support their use, many areas are employing "pain scores" to ration access to treatment. The Oxford Hip and Knee Scores and alternative New Zealand system are being used as a restrictive gateway to surgery. Only those with severe pain can receive treatment in a significant number of CCGs.

NICE says action should be taken to avoid pain interfering with daily life.

You can read more here


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4. EHRC does legal support

I have always thought of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) acting at a political and global level, to help shape policy, advise governments, wave red flags when necessary.

So I was intrigued to discover that they have recently completed a legal pilot scheme, where they have taken direct action, supporting individuals who have experienced disability discrimination.

They have been involved in 100 cases, including the high-profile Paulley versus First Group, which helped establish better protection for wheelchair users travelling by bus.

You can read more here


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5. Derek's View – Kinderkey Stellan

We are looking at new developments in beds and bedrooms, this month on Independent Living.

One that has caught my eye is Kinderkey's Stellan complex care system. It has been designed to make sleeping safer and more comfortable for people with a range of different needs. For example, those with dementia who are prone to falling out of bed when they wake in the night, and those with Huntington's, whose involuntary movements can lead to injury.

The long sides can be split, with one part dropping down to make caregiving easier, while the other remains in place, to keep the bed's occupant safe.

You can see more details here


If you provide high quality products and services, and you would like to reach our site visitors and newsletter readers, please email derek@independentliving.co.uk


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6. Latest news – door entry project; Attendance Allowance

We have had some really interesting responses to the request for information to help with the development of a new automated door entry system by British engineering company, Easylink UK.

You can still complete the questionnaire, which won't take more than a minute or two, and receive information in the next few days, about possible grant finance available to help with the cost of installing such systems.

Take part here.


A little bit of good news to report, for anyone receiving Attendance Allowance, the disability benefit for those over 65. The government was planning to hand over responsibility for paying AA to local authorities, as part of their Business Rates reform. From where it was likely to be a slippery slope to oblivion. They have now reversed the decision, and excluded Attendance Allowance from the changes – so it looks to be safe for the time being.


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Until next time, all good wishes,


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Frances Leckie

e: editor @ independentliving.co.uk
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