A life-changing partnership marks its second anniversary with Marie Curie during this week’s National Occupational Therapy Week (6-12 November).

The week comes as the national charity, which provides care and support through terminal illness, marks its unique two-year partnership with leading manufacturer Acorn Stairlifts. It has so far installed 75 stairlifts free of charge to help support Marie Curie patients, enabling them to be cared for in the comfort of their own homes.

Occupational Therapists play a vital role in the partnership, forming a link between the patients and Acorn Stairlifts by making referrals. Teams across Marie Curie’s nationwide network of nine hospices can recommend those patients who would benefit most from having an Acorn stairlift installed and dozens of families throughout the UK have already received the free, often life-changing equipment.

Paul Hazard from Acorn Stairlifts with Robert Jones, one of the Marie Curie patients who received an Acorn Stairlift in 2016, and Fiona Dawes, Senior Occupational Therapist, Marie Curie.

Fiona Dawes, an Occupational Therapist based at the Marie Curie West Midlands Hospice, has overseen the installation of stairlifts to local patients and knows how valuable her role is not only to those in the hospice, but also to her patients in the community. Often the provision of a stairlift is the only way patients can remain in their own home – a benefit which is shared by their families.

“Our main aim as Occupational Therapists is to try and keep people independent at home as long as possible. We visit patients in the community to establish what their needs are, where they might be struggling and what the solution might be. The partnership with Acorn has been so beneficial to us, by providing another option to help our patients continue to live their lives as normally as possible. To be able to offer this service to someone receiving palliative care is invaluable,” she explains.

“Something I hear a lot from the patients is that having the stairlift has been ‘life-changing’. Where before, the only option may have been to live permanently upstairs or downstairs, having this fitted – and quickly – has enabled patients to continue living at home with some normality. The stairlift may only be used for a few short weeks, but it can make such a big difference to the lives of the whole family.”

Under its pioneering partnership with Marie Curie, Acorn pledges to install up to 60 free stairlifts per year for people with terminal illness who are cared for by the national charity.

Operations Director at Acorn, Nick Wilson, added: “We are proud of our unique initiative with Marie Curie and we’d like to thank the Occupational Therapists for the vital work they do when making referrals. We have long known how life-changing a stairlift can be, so we’re looking forward to continuing our support for their incredible, life-enhancing work through further free installations for Marie Curie patients.”