MS suf­ferer needs new frame

Auckland City Harbour News - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - CATRIN OWEN

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.

PHOTO: CATRIN OWEN

Su­san Cr­erar (cen­tre) suf­fers from mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis and needs a new stand­ing frame.

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