MS sufferer needs new frame
A Mt Albert woman suffering from multiple sclerosis is being denied funding for a new standing frame.
Susan Crerar was suddenly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) when she was 24 years old.
MS is a chronic, unpredictable disease of the central nervous system - the brain, optic nerves and spinal chord.
Over time MS causes symptoms including visual problems, loss of balance, poor coordination and slurred speech.
Susan has been using the same standing frame for 20 years and, along with her husband David, she’s campaigning to get a new frame funded by Accessable, a Ministry of Health company.
Susan’s medication allows her to stand for 10 to 20 minutes at a time, up to five times a day and is a crucial part of her rehabilitation.
However after having the same standing frame for 20 years, her ability to get up to the frame is limited as her condition has deteriorated.
In the last 10 years she has been unable to walk and the frame allows Susan to move her legs.
However, the family now needs a mechanical-lift standing frame as David, who is almost 60, is suffering from a re-occurring hernia from lifting his wife.
Ingrid Minett , general manager of MS Auckland, supports the Crerar’s application.
Toni Atkinson, group manager of Disability Support Services, says the Ministry of Health is still considering the application.
‘‘Funding for a standing frame is provided where it is needed to maintain a person’s functional posture...where this is part of a long term plan and not limited to a period of specific rehabilitation,’’ he says.
An Equipment and Modification Services assessor will make a clinical decision as to whether or not the person meets the criteria, Atkinson says.
However, David says Accessable told them they only support funding for a standing hoist if it’s an essential need, not a rehabilitation tool.
‘‘While we wait for a better drug to come along, this is part of the long term plan to walk again, otherwise Susan would not have enough strength for any long term recovery, after 25 years of the illness,’’ David says.
David says as an alternative he will apply to the Health and Disability Commissioner for funding.
Susan Crerar (centre) suffers from multiple sclerosis and needs a new standing frame.