A disabled teenage boy no longer faces the possibility of being separated from his grandfather – who is like a best friend to him – following a new wetroom provided to the family by the Impey Cares campaign.
Hazel Spencer, an occupational therapist, nominated her 13-year-old client, Ashley Williams, to be the recipient of a free healthcare wetroom through the scheme established by leading level access shower specialists, Impey Showers. Ashley has quadriplegic cerebral palsy and is wheelchair dependent.
Ashley, from South Wale spends most evenings, weekends and all school holidays at his grandfather’s house with whom he has a very close bond and lives part-time with his mum, Joanne, her partner and an Auntie.
Tony Matthews, 70, recently retired after a long career supplying catering equipment as he suffers with lumbar back problems and underwent spinal surgery last year. Tony currently lifts teenager Ashley in and out of the bath daily and can no longer carry on caring for Ashley in such a physical manner and separation threatens the pair.
Ashley was selected as the winning recipient of an Impey Cares healthcare wetroom from hundreds of applicants across the country. His grandfather’s bathroom was adapted by Impey Showers in January 2015 and the adaption included a 1300×800 level dec EasyFit, 1300×800 option H freedom screens and 450mm maxi grip grab rails.
Tony, said: “The new wetroom has changed our lives. This facility now enables Ashley, who is entirely wheelchair dependent and doubly incontinent, to stay living with me for much longer.
Ashley can now be wheeled into the wetroom and lifted easily to the shower seat with little if any difficulty meaning Ashley’s basic needs are now catered for.
Tony continued: “Although we desperately needed the adaptation carried out, my home was not listed as Ashley’s primary residence so this meant that I would have to fund the wetroom themselves, something which, on a pension, I could not afford to do. We are eternally thankful to Impey Cares for stepping in to help.
“I could never afford to complete the adaptions Ashley so desperately needs,” he said.
“I am a widower and on a pension, paying for a wetroom myself was never an option. We have coped for the last thirteen years but as Ashley gets bigger and I get older it’s getting harder and harder to manage.
“Ashley has very high muscle tone and therefore requires a lot of assistance. He can only stand for very short periods of time with limited use of his left hand and would never be able to shower himself.
He has very limited vocalisation and communicates with facial expression, gestures and recognisable sounds with family members. Ashley is at high risk of aspiration and has a gastrostomy tube for feeding purposes. He is totally dependent on his family to meet his care needs.”
Now, thanks to the new bathroom provided through Impey Cares, getting Ashley, who loves the water and his new wetroom, into the shower is a lot easier and safer, something incredibly important to both Ashley and Tony.
The Impey Cares scheme was set up by Impey Showers to represent the interests of vulnerable, disabled and elderly people, and raise awareness of their increasingly difficult situation in the face of government spending cuts.
The initiative offers wetroom adaptations to those who desperately need the vital work to be carried out but have been refused funding through a Disabled Facilities Grant.
Hazel first heard about the scheme at Naidex 2014 and filled out an application via the internet.
She said she was thrilled when Impey – the leading suppliers and manufacturers of wetrooms for both the luxury and healthcare market – got in contact to say Ashley had been shortlisted. She said:
“Tony and Ashley’s relationship is remarkable and they are dependent on each other. He takes great pride in Ashley’s appearance and baths him daily. Ashley is doubly incontinent and pad managed. They are wonderful together and it is heart breaking to witness the struggle that Tony has to care for him.
“The difference the wetroom has made is unbelievable. Impey has changed the lives of both of them. I don’t know what they would do without each other and thanks to Impey they won’t have to.
Ashley’s Mum, Joanne Matthews, said:
“Ashley loves the water and for the first time in a long time can enjoy is safely without putting my dad’s health at risk. I know I can go to work and they will both be OK. The difference this wetroom has made is unbelievable and we have Impey to thank for that.”
Neil Whitehead, Brand Manager at Impey Showers, said: “We’re over the moon that the new wetroom has made such a difference to Ashley and Tony’s lives.
“We think everyone should have the right to independent living and we look forward to making more wetroom adaptions and making a life changing difference to people’s lives.”
Nominations are now being invited for Impey Cares adaptations to be carried out in 2015.
Applications are invited from those with a mobility problem or disability who have no financial means to adapt their own bathrooms, their carers, or their representatives from schools, charities and other not-for-profit organisations.
Visit www.impeycare.co.uk to make your nomination now.
Follow the Impey Cares campaign online: Send a tweet @impeycares, ‘Like’ them on Facebook.com/impeycares or visit www.impeycare.co.uk to watch video interviews with those who have received a wetroom adaptation and to nominate someone in need.