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AccessAble: the accessibility guide and app

AccessAble

Getting Where You Want When You Want.

The great thing about technology is that is has an infinite number of practical uses. Take accessibility for instance.  Whilst wheelchair accessible venues have improved immeasurably over the past few years, you still can’t be absolutely sure that the great restaurant you want to try out, or show you want to see will be able to cater for you needs.

We have highlighted Euan’s Guide before, and that website picks its top 10 accessible venues each year. It’s a brilliant guide. 

But this time, we wanted to highlight AccessAble, a fab’ app and website resource that lets you find an accessible venue anywhere in the country.

The great thing about AccessAble is that they check out every venue they list in person.  That means phrases like ‘fully accessible’ are genuinely helpful. ‘Accessible’ means different things to different people: the visually impaired have contrasting accessibility requirements to wheelchair users.  AccessAble takes these differences into account when assessing a venue.

Currently AccessAble list 16,000+ Accessible loos, 8,000+ shops, 3,500+ restaurants, 1,000+ hotels, 1,000+ tourist attractions and 100+ universities.

You can download the app for your phone.

 AccessAble uses no less than 32 accessibility symbols to indicate various levels of accessibility and amenity.  The symbols cover a diversity of needs and range from sites with steep access ramps or automatic doors, assistive listening or braille to dementia friendly and carer discounts. We’ve copied seven of the symbols below.

See if you can guess the correct meaning.   Check on the AccessAble website to see if you’re right!

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50,000 opt for Personal Wheelchair Budgets

More than 50,000 people have taken charge of their own care after being handed control of how their NHS funding is spent.

Personal Health Budgets can be used to purchase personalised wheelchairs, assistance dogs and respite care to manage complex health problems, as well as tech devices that can control curtains, lighting, heating and door intercoms to help people live independent lives.

The rollout of the Budgets across the country is two years ahead of scheme and being ramped up further as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.

New figures published today by NHS England and Improvement show 54,143 people with long-term health problems, including disabled people and those with long-term physical and mental health conditions, are currently benefiting from them.

At least 200,000 people will be given the chance to improve their health and wellbeing by using Personal Health Budgets (PHB) within the next five years.

The vast majority of PHB spending goes on the provision of direct care and support, such as help with washing, eating, dressing and other aspects of essential personal care.

However, the spending packages also foster investment in new technology, with patients able to request modified and improved support like personalised wheelchairs.

Many patients with chronic conditions, like arthritis and serious muscle problems, have hired personal assistants who can help to manage household tasks and ease pressure on joints, stopping problems escalating and leading to intensive medical treatment or the need for going in to a care home or being admitted to hospital.

One patient with epilepsy has a carer who manages their medication which helps to prevent fits and potential serious injury.

Another, living with a serious lung condition that causes breathing problems, limiting her movement and causes depression linked to physical pain, has invested in an at-home exercise bike which she shares with other people in the area with the same condition, allowing them to exercise safely, manage their condition and be more sociable, to prevent isolation.

Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England and Improvement, said: “These are practical but radical reforms enabling NHS patients to take direct control of their own care. While not right for everyone, for some people with long term health problems, the NHS is now offering them the opportunity to completely reshape the personal and health support they get. With over 50,000 people now choosing this route, this initiative has proven its practical benefits for patients and their families, and so will now be expanded further.”

James Sanderson, Director of Personalised Care Group, NHS England added: “A one-size-fits-all health and care system simply cannot meet the increasing complexity of people’s needs and expectations.

“Instead of having their health care ‘done to’ them, people with personal health budgets are an equal and active partner in their own health care and able to make their own decisions.

“More than 54,000 people now have more choice and control over their lives, which we know leads to better outcomes. This fantastic figure shows what can be achieved with strong local partnerships between CCGs, local authorities, providers and the voluntary and community sector.”

Personalised care sees GPs and local agencies working with patients who often have multiple long-term health conditions to make decisions about managing their health and care, by asking what matters to that individual rather than just what’s wrong with them.

Together, they create a personalised care and support-plan and agree on how their personalised health budget will best be spent to help improve their health and wellbeing. The budget can integrate health and social care funding and helps join up these services at a local level.

A PHB is not new money, so does not cost the NHS more money. There is a growing evidence base that people achieve better outcomes with a PHB, they are spent almost exclusively on essential care and they save the NHS money over time.

Other examples of PHB’s working well include:

  • To support a Worcestershire boy with profound and multiple learning disabilities and severe epilepsy. The PHB pays for a carer to look after him at his home, help manage his medication and to feed him. It means he has not needed to be placed in residential care miles from home. It has transformed his life and has saved the NHS money.
  • One woman in Northampton, who is deafblind and suffers from severe osteoarthritis, to hire a personal assistant to accompany her and be her ears and eyes when she is out, helping her to stay active safely and cope with the pain caused by her arthritis.
  • A skilled engineer from Lincolnshire, who was left paraplegic after a motorcycle accident uses his personal health budget to pay for mechanical parts so he can build high-specification customised power wheelchairs for himself, to help avoid muscle spasms and to maintain his active lifestyle.
  • One patient has invested in an assistance dog, who has knowledge of more than 200 commands and can alert her to an epileptic seizure, predict hypo and hyperglycaemic attacks and even open the door for paramedics. She no longer requires physiotherapy and visits the GP less often.

Read more about personal health budgets in James Sanderson’s blog.

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The Top Accessible Venues to Visit in 2020

Eight venues from across the UK have received recognition from the disabled access charity Euan’s Guide for their “outstanding” welcome for disabled visitors.

The awards, which are now in their second year, recognise the best accessible venues in each region, based on public nominations and reviews shared on Euan’s Guide.

From the hundreds of nominated venues, Euan’s Guide selected the following venues because they “stood out by providing exceptionally good experiences to disabled people.”

Top 8 Accessible Venues

From the hundreds of nominated venues, these venues stood out by providing exceptionally good experiences to disabled people.  For that reason, they were each named Venue of the Year for their region.

Euan MacDonald, Co-Founder of Euan’s Guide said: “Last year we awarded four venues across the UK.  This year we felt it was only fitting to recognise eight venues that stretch across the UK.  Each of these venues has shown tremendous commitment to providing an excellent experience to all in 2019, making them ideal places to visit in 2020.”

Public Recognition

Each of these venues have been recommended by their disabled visitors.  Disabled people use the disabled access review website Euan’s Guide to share their experiences and find new places to visit.  Reading about someone else’s visit often gives people the information they need to decide if a venue is right for them. 

Accessible Features

Six of the eight venues have a Changing Places facility installed.  Changing places are provided in addition to accessible toilets, they contain additional equipment, such as an adult sized changing bench and a hoist, which a quarter of a million people require to use the toilet safely.  Many of the winning venues provide step free access or have lifts installed to ensure that wheelchair users and those with mobility impairments can experience the venue in its entirety.

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Coronavirus: latest information and advice

Latest Situation in the UK

Two patients in England have tested positive for coronavirus. Chief Medical Officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, has shared a statement. If more cases are confirmed in the UK, it will be announced as soon as possible by the Chief Medical Officer of the affected country.

Based on the World Health Organization’s declaration that this is a public health emergency of international concern, the UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public from low to moderate. This permits the government to plan for all eventualities.

The risk to individuals in the UK has not changed at this stage. Our advice for travellers from Wuhan and Hubei Province remains unchanged from the below and we have added further advice for travellers from elsewhere in China.

As of 31 January, a total of 177 UK tests have concluded, of which 175 were confirmed negative and 2 positive.

1,466 passengers and 95 staff arrived in the UK on direct flights from Wuhan between 10 and 24 January.

  • 162 of the passengers have already left the UK
  • 53 of the crew have already left the UK
  • 866 are now outside of the incubation period

Public Health England are working to contact the remaining passengers.

We have been working in close collaboration with international colleagues and the World Health Organisation to monitor the situation in China and around the world.

The Department of Health and Social Care will be publishing updated data on this page on a daily basis at 2pm until further notice.

Information about the virus

A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. Typical symptoms of coronavirus include fever and a cough that may progress to a severe pneumonia causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

Novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China.

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Barbie Gets Real

Conscious of criticism, Mattel has updated their ‘Fashionista’ range with ‘Wheelchair Barbie’, dolls with prosthetics and the skin condition vitiligo.

 

The Fashionistas line up was launched in 2016 with With four new body types, seven skin tones, 22 eye colours, and 24 hairstyles. This was Mattel’s response to diversity criticism. Now, some four years later, and some would say ‘about time too’, disability and diversity is represented in the range. It’s not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.

Mattel worked with partners at UCLA Mattel Children’s hospital, along with some wheelchair experts to get the details right and to ensure the wheelchair was authentic in every respect. It’s also possible to buy extended leg supports which fit the Barbie wheelchair.

‘As a brand, we can elevate the conversation around physical disabilities by including them into our fashion doll line to further showcase a multi-dimensional view of beauty and fashion‘, Mattel said in a press release.

At Mobshop we think it’s important that the kids to whom we supply wheelchairs have toys to which they can relate.