Carol’s Story-Listen & Connect

Carol, from Sutton Coldfield, has some physical and mental health problems including anxiety, depression, and poor mobility.

When we first started speaking to Carol as part of the Listen and Connect service back in October 2020, she had been waiting a long time to get a response from a referral to an Occupational Therapist (OT) who would assess if she was eligible for a wet room. We realised Carol had mistakenly been put to the back of the waiting list, meaning it could have been a further 10 weeks for the OT to consider her application.

Because of her mobility issues, her home is unsuitable for her. She is unable to get upstairs to her bedroom or into her bath. For two years, Carol has instead had to wash at her sink which has affected other areas of her life. Carol, a cancer survivor herself, lost her sister to cancer five years ago. Carol feels she hasn’t been able to grieve her death properly as she is currently looking after her mum, who has dementia.

We were able to negotiate with the OT to ensure Carol was put back on the urgent list. Because of our persistence, the OT has recently approved Carol for a wet room, which is going to have an enormous impact on Carol’s physical and mental health.

“I had the letter yesterday [from the OT] and I’ve been approved to have a wet room. I can’t tell you how happy I am… I haven’t been able to have a bath for two years, I’ve been washing from the sink. Because of my hygiene, I’ve let myself go. [Since the letter], I’ve started to be more positive.”

We also made a referral for Carol to see a physio. The physio has been out to see Carol and has shown her some exercises she can do sitting down, so she can start to get more active. This and the wet room have helped Carol to feel like she can start getting out and about again, and Carol was really grateful for how we persevered to get her the support she needed.

“I think it’s because they kept persisting, I would have put the phone down and said I couldn’t be bothered, but they kept saying to try to talk to people and I’m thinking, ‘Yeah I can get out there if I try’. I’ve even bought myself a powered wheelchair, with the help of my family, so hopefully I can just go around the block. Just to see a tree or a house.”

Carol said that because of the way she feels, it has been good to talk to someone she is comfortable with about what she was going through. But really importantly, Listen and Connect has provided Carol with crucial, practical support.
Carol is now going to get in touch with a bereavement counsellor so she can properly address her sister’s death.

Catherine Ball
Author: Catherine Ball