Hi All, My partner and I need a little help from somebody who may have gone through that which we are or knows somebody who has!
At present the social housing flats where we live are being refurbished. This is to bring them in line with housing standards etc., tenants are being offered new kitchens, heating, electricity rewire and bathrooms, where required. Our little estate is a few years ago was strictly for the over 55’s or disabled. However, these rules seem to have been relaxed to allow single parent families, and in some respects allow families of 4 live in a 2 bedroom flat! I say this because our little estate comprises only of 1 bedroom ground floor flats and 2 bed roomed 1st floor flats.
However, over 3 years ago, we were offered a ground floor flat with complete wet room, due to my mobility and care needs (as a basis, I receive DLA high rate mobility and middle rate care, my partner is my carer. I have been assessed as ‘can walk less than 50 metres, slowly‘, and help with personal care during the day as I need help to ‘get in and out of bed, manage my toilet needs, wash, bathe, shower and dry myself, dress and undress, get up and downstairs, move about indoors, eat and drink, manage my treatment and medication, take part in social activities, get in and out of a chair and communicate verbally’).
Now to the point, as we have had the full flat decorated to our liking taking into consideration my problems, save for the wet room as we knew this was due for refurbishment, this is the only room that requires updating.
Amongst my disabilities is the fact that I suffer from chronic severe atopic eczema, not just patches, but ALL OVER my body. This requires the application of soap substitutes and moisturisers, emollients and steroid ointments, with which I receive assistance from my partner in dealing with those parts that I am unable to reach.
I have a number of skin preparations that can be used as soap substitute and also a moisturiser. Meaning these can be applied to the skin before I shower and after to moisturise. However, there is 1, which is effective, Oilatum Plus which is strictly a bath additive. However, when my skin is so raw, broken and angry, it can often be the case where the Oilatum Plus, because this is in liquid form and not a thick ointment, is the easiest skin preparation to be applied to my skin. Again, there can be downside to this in that Oilatum Plus direct onto my skin can aggravate my already severe, angry skin and exacerbate this until it is washed off in the shower.
Now bearing the above in mind, when we heard that our flat is now to be refurbished, or the wet room anyway, it was our understanding that we may be able to have a bath fitted with shower over, with added items that would help my partner get me into the bath on those occasions when this would be advantageous. Also to keep the stool, or have this changed so at least there was still a seat when a shower only was to be had.
With regard to the use of the bath, such items would be of help and would also be discussed, in our mind being, a saddle type seat that sits over the side of the bath upon which I would sit, my partner would then assist with putting my legs over the the bath side into the bath, and then I would slide onto a seat that lowers me into the bath and once bathed, raise me out and then back into the saddle, all with my partners help. Or so we thought.
We have today been visited by Christine from the company carrying out all the refurbishments. As we are only having the wet room refurbished, it was explained that the company would come in, effectively gut the wet room and install, new toilet, wash hand basin, and bath with shower over. It was our understanding that the social housing company employing these contractors, would then send somebody to discuss such matters as keeping the stool and grab rails for when showers are had, and bath saddles and bath lifts etc.
We have just been visited by Occupational Therapist employed by the social housing company, and in a nutshell, she said she would be reluctant in ripping our the wet room and replacing this with a bath and shower over, due to my mobility restrictions. (She explained she is more used to visiting tenants who have mobility issues and wish for a bath to be removed and replaced with a wet room which is understandable, but maybe they do not have my severe skin condition). The above advantages for me in having baths at times was made clear, and that this would help in my skin condition maybe not getting any worse. It was also pointed that my partner would always assist me in bathing anyway, as she has towhen I shower.
Our ideas of the bath saddle and bath lift were put over and she firstly agreed about the bath lift, but then said she was also be reluctant to agree with this due to the slippery nature of the bath additives concerned, as this would add matters of health and safety, even though I pointed out how my partner would assist. The OT could see I was disappointed and agreed to speak to her immediate boss, who may well advise the same as her in having to keep the wet room, and she would get her boss to call my partner & I to discuss this further.
So we are left with, that we may have to keep the wet room as it is (but hopefully still receiving the refurbishment of new hand basin and toilet, shower and choice of tiling etc.)
Or, for the reason why I am reaching out to those who read this.
Have any readers, been through this with their social housing provider and managed to sway their argument to have wet room refurbished to a bathroom and then had added assisted bathing implements such as those described above.
I know my partner and I may be seeking the ideal, but if anybody can point us toward of being able to get a bath with bath over with implements to assist, we would be most grateful. (At the moment, my partner & I have only the choice of showering. It can be seen that a bath would be advantageous which would also allow my partner to have a relaxing soak now and then. Indeed, bearing in mind all that my partner does for me, there is very little that I am able to show my gratitude, and to let her have a soak would at least lessen this part of the stress that I feel I cause ie. It is because of me that my partner cannot have a bath. A small point this may be to many, but to me, it would mean a great deal, that at least my partner could enjoy a relaxing soak).
Or would it be a case of just leaving wet room as is with new toilet, basin, shower and tiling and just asking for a new shower stool that is secured to the wall?
A further point of interest, is that as we only have the 1 front door through which we enter and exit and in case of fire we are expected to gain exit through a window, the OT asked if this our only means of entry and exit.
Any assistance or responses are welcomed.