Tuesday 14 April 2015

Health & Wellbeing Grants: The Social Worker Perspective

Today the Trust’s grants panel will consider applications for the second round of health and wellbeing grants. In this blog, Anne Calvert and Margaret McCafferty, two specialist CF social workers from Belfast, discuss some of the financial issues that people living with cystic fibrosis can face, and the importance of the Trust’s grants in supporting people during different stages in their lives.

We are from the regional adult CF centre in Belfast, covering the whole of Northern Ireland.  Individuals with CF travel long distances to attend outpatient clinics. Many are not entitled to help via the benefit system and it is costly having to travel so frequently. When someone comes into hospital they are usually admitted for a two-week period and contact with family and friends is extremely important during this time. Families not only incur the additional cost of travelling to and from hospital, but they are also spending money on meals, trying to encourage the patient to eat and supplementing hospital food. 

The first home grant has been extremely helpful to those wishing to set up independently. The availability of small emergency grants is fantastic when, for example, the washing machine breaks down! 

We have also found these grants very helpful when someone needs a one-off payment to help with unexpected costs. Many people attending our unit are parents themselves now. When they have to come into hospital they are extremely worried about the increased cost of child care. We have successfully applied for financial help to meet these costs, which goes a long way to help reduce some of the understandable anxieties for people coming into hospital. We also recently applied for a one-off grant to support someone paying for a professional cleaning service. They were going through a difficult time and felt overwhelmed by the situation. They really appreciated this help and felt better able to “keep on top “of things.

Looking forward to a holiday gives all of us a lift! The holiday grants are very important, especially as insurance costs can be very expensive. It is extremely important that people can go on holiday with peace of mind, knowing they can access medical care if they need to.

When health deteriorates the home care grant has been of significant benefit, especially when someone wants to spend as much time at home as possible. It is important they are not worried about the increased costs such as heating during this difficult time.

Individuals in Northern Ireland go to Newcastle, England, for assessment for transplantation. This is an expensive process for them and the family member who accompanies them. The grant for the assessment period has been very helpful. 

Also, for those families where they have lost someone with CF, they are really appreciative of the £750 grant to help towards funeral costs.  

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