Through its ‘Just Can’t Wait’ service, the charity makes available equipment such as specialist beds, buggies, wheelchairs, seating systems and portable hoists. In many cases, these loans enable children to leave hospital and be cared for at home.
Jodie, aged three, and her mum Kate have recently benefited from this service. Jodie has multiple and complex disabilities which means she must be positioned at an certain angle at all times.
Kate explains: “For more than a year, Jodie was sitting and sleeping in an ordinary bean bag because of her health needs; she has to be positioned at an angle of no less than 40 degrees. Our local statutory services have now provided us with a hospital bed for Jodie, but we still couldn’t get any help with special seating.
“I gave the Newlife Nurse Helpline a call and spoke to one of their wonderful nurses. I told her all about Jodie – and a few days later a specialist seat was delivered to our home.”
Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children offers a range of practical support services – including equipment grants and loans – all accessed through a helpline staffed by disability-experienced nurses. It helps children with any significant disability, whether in-born or acquired through illness, injury or prematurity. And you don’t need a formal diagnosis to be able to tap into its services.
The charity also funds research campaigns for a fairer deal for children to obtain the essential equipment and services they deserve.
Play Therapy Pods
Another valuable service offered by Newlife is its Play Therapy Pods scheme.
Play Therapy Pods are sensory and developmental toys and aids for children with complex needs, for use at home. Pods are available on a three-month loan, delivered and collected from the family doorstep. It is a ‘try before you buy’ opportunity for parents, so they don’t waste money on costly items that their children may not like.
The pods fall into two age categories – under and over-fives – with targeted equipment for tactile, visual, interactive and auditory needs in each age group.
Equipment Loan Services Manager Carrick Brown said: “We have used the knowledge and experience of our play specialist, from working with sick and disabled children in a hospital setting, to help us develop and improve the service. Play Therapy Pods give families an opportunity to try a wide range of specialist toys and aids that are targeted at specific and complex needs.”
Beth, who has a pod for her one-year-old son Dougie, said: “Dougie is particularly motivated by lights and he has a visual impairment teacher who has been suggesting different toys – only to find we already have them through the Play Therapy Pods. It is most important to me that he gets enjoyment out of what he is doing and the toys and aids provided by Newlife help enormously.”
Find out more about Newlife and the services they offer on its website, or contact the helpline – details above.