Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Oxford Ascend Hoist

With its unrivalled range of movement, the Ascend can transfer a patient from a low-seated position to fully extended with ease. Its active lifting motion was specially designed to encourage user participation, which ultimately promotes patient independence and well-being.

For more information contact Dolphin Mobility on 01276 856060.

Oxford Arise Patient Lift

The Arise was specifically designed for quick, simple and safe transfers. Unlike using conventional passive lifting devices, the Arise supports using a range of active slings. This encourages the patient to participate during the lifting process. This active style of transfer is proven to keep patients active for longer. Slings are simple to fit, provide excellent access and support for the key tasks of toileting, standing, walking and quick transfers.

For more information contact Dolphin Mobility on 01276 856060.

Oxford Advance Patient Lift

The Advance patient lift from Oxford represents a true step forward in patient lift design and performance. It uses the very latest design and manufacturing technologies to ensure the Advance is the most functional and stylish lift in its class today.
For more information contact Dolphin Mobility on 01276 856060.

Oxford Presence lift

The Oxford Presence lift has been engineered and designed to handle almost any resident-handling task. With its outstanding lift range, the Presence can lift residents from the floor as well accommodate transfers to higher surfaces. The 500 pound safe working load and greater spatial area make this lift a perfect fit for larger residents.

For more information contact Dolphin Mobility on 01276 856060.

Oxford Stature Patient lift

The Stature patient lift, Oxford's flagship product, recognises the true needs of the modern care environment.

With a massive safe working load of 227kgs/500lbs/36st and one of the largest lifting ranges available (min 390mm max 1550mm), the Stature is able to cope with even the most demanding and technical of patient handling situations.

For more information contact Dolphin Mobility on 01276 856060.

Spa Pool Lift

The Splash! Spa pool lift is designed for use with spas up to 52” (132 cm) above ground level.

Spa Lift
The Spa
lift is attached to the pool deck using a square anchor socket. The Splash! is virtually maintenance free. The components are made from corrosion-resistant materials, including powder-coated aluminum (arms, housing), and powder-coated stainless steel (base, mast, and seat frame). The unique seat of the lift was specifically designed to provide the user with the greatest possible comfort and ease of transfer.

For more information contact Dolphin Mobility on 01276 856060.

Council takes over home repairs from 'slow' agency

This article appeared on www.thisisnottingham.co.uk

THE borough council is to take on repairs and improvements to homes after ending a contract with a housing association.

According to the council, the work of the South Notts Home Improvement Agency did not meet expectations and was not carried out in time.

From tomorrow all jobs that have not yet been started within Gedling borough will be done by the council itself.

The housing agency will complete all jobs where work has already begun, at no cost to Gedling Borough Council.

The agency, run by housing association Spirita, helps elderly, vulnerable and disabled residents with house repairs as well as installing ramps, heating systems and stair lifts.

Click here!

In February, the group was told its contract would be extended if its service improved.

But a report by council officers states: "At the beginning of June 2008 it became evident Spirita was not adequately addressing the issues specified and it was mutually agreed to terminate the contract on September 30."

The South Notts Home Improvement Agency was set up in 2005 to help people living in private homes in Gedling, Rushcliffe and Broxtowe.The agency was given £230,000 of public money for home improvements. But in March 2008 Broxtowe withdrew its funding.

It criticised the agency for delays in carrying out work after receiving an initial enquiry, the quality of technical assessments and the costing of work.

A Spirita spokeswoman said: "We have worked positively and pro-actively with Gedling Borough Council to ensure a smooth handover and we continue to support our clients and handle all the work already underway."


Monday, September 15, 2008

New pool lift for Ringwood swimmers

Swimmers in Ringwood are delighted with the new BluOne portable pool lift supplied by Dolphin, and are hoping it will encourage more disabled people to take the plunge at their swimming pools.

The above image shows Craig Dunnage, second from the left and Dolphin Mobility's Managing Director, demonstrating the new lift at Ringwood Health and Leisure Centre.

Stair Lifts - Prices

Most stairlift companies are reluctant to give you a price on their website or over the phone.

Dolphin Stair Lifts have a stairlift prices calculator on our website where you can quickly get a price online by answering a few simple questions about your staircase. All you'll need is a tape measure, pen and a sheet of paper.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Housing: the age-old problem

The following article was taken from www.contractjournal.com, the site for construction industry news.

Growing old isn't something that many of us like to think about. Except perhaps for the odd 10 minutes when we're looking in the mirror in disbelief that we're actually turning into our parents. Sadly, however, the fact remains that for those of us fortunate enough to make it, old age is a reality.

As a population, we're aging at an incredible rate. The average age in the UK now stands at approximately 39 years, compared to 34.1 years in 1971. Furthermore, by 2026, older people will account for almost half of the increase in the total number of households - resulting in an additional 2.4m older households than there are today. It's essential, therefore, that Housing Associations ensure that the dwellings they provide are able to accommodate a changing society - and for too long they haven't.

Elderly and disabled individuals living in social housing often find it difficult to move around their homes, make a cup of tea or bath themselves properly, and as a result, injuries or accidents often occur. A quick look at government statistics further illustrates the problem, with older peoples' falls resulting in 1.25m hospital admissions per year, at a cost to the NHS of around £750m. Safety modifications and adaptations are thought to be able to massively reduce that figure, with some analysts claiming that they could be reduced by as much as 60%. Or to put it another way, cut costs by about £400m.

Sixteen-point plan

In February this year, communities minister Hazel Blears announced that from 2011, all social housing must be designed and built to meet the '16 point' Lifetime Homes standard (see box, opposite). By putting its own house in order first, the government is hoping that the private sector will follow suit. If it fails to do so, by 2013 regulations will be introduced to make the standards compulsory throughout the UK.

The Lifetime Home Standards were first developed and promoted by Habinteg Housing Association and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation during the late 1980s. They were based on the idea that new dwellings should be designed in such a way that they are suitable for people throughout their lives and particularly as they enter old age. The Standard covers things such as wider doorways for wheelchair access, and entrance level living rooms. It also requires all housing to be accessible and easily adaptable to help people cope with disabilities.

While some may argue that this is simply another hurdle introduced by the government, making it yet harder to build the much needed social housing in the UK, Paul Cann, director of policy and external relations at Help the Aged, welcomes the idea: "This strategy is enormously important. Housing is the backbone of older people's quality of life, affecting their health, well-being and independence."

"Older people often tell us that they want to live in their own homes for as long as possible, but due to poor designs, they're unable to do so. This strategy will hopefully ensure that in the future, elderly people have the option to choose."

Lifetime neighbourhoods

The new standards form part of a wider initiative launched by the government called Lifetime Neighbourhoods. These are designed to ensure that in the future cities are constructed in such a way that they are able to accommodate the requirements of an aging population. Working in conjunction with planners and design experts, the scheme will address common design faults believed to be responsible for the growing number of elderly people that feel trapped in their own homes. These include the lack of disabled parking bays, public toilets, well located bus stops, as well as better street lighting and kerb design.

There are plans to role out the first 'age-friendly' cities across the 10 nationally planned eco-towns and the Olympic Village. If the project proves to be successful, it is certain to set a precedent for other cities across the developed world.

To support both the Lifetime Homes and Lifetime Neighbourhoods programmes, a £33m fund has been allocated for essential repair and adaptation work to begin on social housing dwellings. This coupled with a £460m 'Disabled Facilities Grant' for changes such as installing stair lifts and walk in showers will, according to the government, "help people stay mobile and live independently for longer".

Cann continues: "We're delighted the government is addressing the challenges facing the day-to-day lives of the older population. The commitment to providing housing advice, repairs and adaptations today, will mean that for the first time, older people who want to continue to live independently are better equipped to do so."

Constructing for life

In principle, this all sounds ideal. After all, it shouldn't be too much to ask that after decades of working hard and paying taxes, our elderly population should wish to keep their dignity and independence and continue to live comfortably in their own homes. The question is, however, is a one-size-fits-all approach to social housing really the solution? Or is this simply a knee-jerk reaction to an ageing population and the spiralling maintenance costs facing the government?

"In theory, the Lifetime Homes Standard is a good thing," says Marcus Keys, affordable housing director at Mansell. "There's simply no point in building homes that you then have to modify later down the line. This is about building homes of the future, today.

"Where housing providers need to be careful, though, is in ensuring that we don't end up in a situation whereby you have a single elderly person occupying a four-bedroom house, because her children moved on a long time ago. In that situation, you have to ask yourself, is this really the best use of space?"

Jon Rukin, Framework Manager at Rok, agrees. "The Lifetime Home philosophy is ethically and socially sound, but perhaps financially flawed," he says. "If you invest extra money building homes to this standard and only actually end up modifying a quarter of them, it doesn't demonstrate a good return on investment."

So the population is aging, the market is changing and as a result, we need to change the way we go about building our homes. In the private sector, the standards have come under particular scrutiny. Some contractors have argued that the standards are not a necessity and that the extra costs make it harder for first-time buyers to get on the market. So what does all this mean for the social housing contractor?

"Little change really," explains Keys. "This is something that we and a number of the major contractors have been doing for a long time already. As long as the requirements are considered in the design stage, there should be no additional cost to the contractor. The important part is ensuring that the supply chain is integrated within the design team."

Implementation costs

For contractors that don't already comply with the standards, the transition may not be so smooth. Especially given that the cost of implementing the Lifetime Homes standards varies dramatically. The Chartered Institute of Housing in Northern Ireland and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation conducted a comparative study into the cost of meeting Building Regulations and Lifetime Home standards. According to that study, the additional cost of building Lifetime Homes ranged from £165 to a maximum of only £545 per dwelling, depending on the size, layout and specification of the property.

But Rukin believes this is a gross underestimate. "'Typically, we have found that it can add anything up to extra £3,000 onto the cost of construction, depending on the size and layout of the dwelling. It's a lot easier to implement on larger properties, but for the smaller properties it can be more challenging as you can't physically make a house bigger."

So, while the private sector may not have taken to the new standards quite so well, social housing contractors are more welcoming to the plans. Maybe that's because for most the new standards have been incorporated into their day-to-day operations for some time. Or maybe it's because when working for the Government, the additional cost of construction is less important.

One thing is for sure, though. Any scheme designed to improve the quality of life for society should be welcomed, particularly when such simple steps can make a huge difference. Only time will tell if it's to be a success or not, but with the 2012 Olympics looming and London the centre of attention, it will be interesting to see if the scheme proves a winner or if it falls at the first hurdle.

New dwellings should be designed to suit people of all ages.

Lifetime Homes form part of a wider initiative - Lifetime Neighbourhoods - which aims to address common design faults.

£10 million plan to fix city lifts

By Lawrence Marzouk, Local Government Correspondent - The Argus

Every lift in council properties is to be replaced and refurbished as part of a £10 million plan.

Brighton and Hove City Council’s housing cabinet member meeting is expected to approve the investment next Wednesday.

The news comes after paramedics treating a sick pensioner had to be freed by firefighters after they were trapped in a lift.

The drama unfolded at the Leach Court sheltered flats in Kemp Town, Brighton, where lifts have been regularly out of action in the last year.

An 88-year-old man with a history of heart problems was taken ill on Friday afternoon and was helped into the lift in a wheelchair by paramedics.

But the lift became stuck and firefighters were called to free the patient and paramedics.

Maria Caulfield, the council's cabinet member for housing, said the situation was unacceptable.

The current contract provides for routine service and minor repairs but individual bids have to be made for each major piece of work.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Home improvements loan for over 60s

This article appeared on the Maidenhead Advertiser website.

The over 60s are being offered home improvement loans by the borough to keep people comfortable and secure in their homes.

The scheme, being introduced by the Royal Borough and 17 other local authorities across Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Surrey, provides loans to the over 60s to improve the warmth, comvort or security of their homes.

This could include work to central heating, improving insulation, installing a stairlift or essential repairs, among others.

Cllr Alison Knight, the borough's cabinet member for planning and housing, said: "We have created a loan to help residents remain in a well-maintained home during their retirement – and have peace of mind – while paying off as little or as much of the loan as they like each month.

"It is important to us that the loan is equal or superior to products available from other lenders in terms of interest rates, charges, efficiency and especially flexibility."

For further information on the scheme, call 01628 683820.

Splashing out on pool lift for disabled swimmers

The following article is taken from the New Forest District Council website. The pool lift was supplied by Dolphin Mobility.

DISABLED swimmers are making waves at Ringwood Health and Leisure Centre with the introduction of a new pool lift.

Swimmers who found difficulty accessing the pool using the old-style hoist are delighted with the £5,000 Italian-imported equipment which has now been installed.

New Forest District Council purchased the BluOne portable pool lift, only recently available in Britain, in a bid to encourage more disabled people to take the plunge at their swimming pools.

"We were aware that the old-style hoist was not liked as disabled swimmers had to be strapped in. Some people didn't like asking for help as two members of the pool staff had to manage the equipment," said NFDC's Portfolio Holder for Employment, Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Maureen Holding.

"We want more disabled people to enjoy the benefits of swimming and have invested in this modern, lightweight and easy-to-use pool lift with great success.

"Swimming gives better health and mobility to disabled people and therefore it is very important for them to participate in this activity," said Cllr Holding.

Now only one staff member is needed to operate the lift and disabled users can be gently lowered into the water where they can easily slide off the seat and enjoy a swim.

Joan Cundill, a disabled swimmer, was invited to the Ringwood centre to try out the equipment.

She said afterwards: "The new hoist is a great improvement on the old one, both for the passenger and poolside staff."

NFDC Equalities Officer Helena Renwick would like feedback from swimmers now using the pool lift.

"If people tell us they like it, we can put it in other centres," she said.

Helena can be contacted on 023 8028 5560 or by email helena.renwick@nfdc.gov.uk

For more information please visit the BluOne pool lift product page on our main site or check out one of our pool lifts video's on youtube.