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Narrowboat Wheelchair

Posted 27 June 2018 in Awards

A lady with grey hair and glasses sits on a wooden stool

Elaine Smith has minimal use of her legs and weakness in her hands as a result of Motor Neurone Disease. Knowing that this would only get worse, she and her husband agreed that they would spend the rest of their time together on their canal narrowboat based at a large local marina. The boat is an ideal viewing platform for her when cruising the canal system and they considered this to be a much better prospect than spending her last days confined to the bedroom of a house.

Two smiling men holding a rolled up scroll

Mike receives his award

Elaine needed a way of being moved around in the boat, getting in and out, and pursuing activities of daily living (using shower/toilet/commode etc).  The principal need is a wheeled chair small enough to move in the confined spaces of the boat cabins and passageways.

Volunteer Mike Banks took on the challenge and met Elaine with Kim Iliffe her Regional Care Development Adviser from MNDA. It was decided to concentrate on making a wheeled chair which was small enough and manoeuvrable enough to negotiate the very tight passageway dimensions of the narrowboat.

The client provided a small wooden chair which was suitable for modification and a steel frame was made which attached to its legs. Two carrying wheels were installed along with two castor wheels, allowing the chair to be rotated around its vertical axis hence permitting its use in the very confined space available.

All four wheels have locking brakes to secure the chair in any desired position on the sloping deck/passageway.

Now that her natural mobility is decreasing, Elaine, has been provided with a practical way for her husband to easily move her around on the canal narrowboat, which is their chosen home for the rest of their remaining life together.  During this precious period of time, Elaine can continue to enjoy travelling in her boat on day trips through the Derbyshire countryside on the canal systems without being confined to the four walls of a bedroom in a house.

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