by PAULA DAVIES
IF there is something seri ously wrong with someone he or she will be whipped into 'hospital without delay. We have all come to expect this kind, of treatment from the Health Service even if we moan about the long waits for minor operations—sometimes as long as two years.
What is not always so readily appreciated, however, is the fact that although we may be whipped in quickly enough, once the crisis is over we are just as rapidly shot out again. And unless it is possible to enjoy a period of convalescence elsewhere, it is only too likely that it will have to be taken at home.
It is at this crucial moment that we discover that nobody at home has a clue about how to look after a sick or convalescent person. A similar problem occurs with old people who may not be as fit as they were but do not need, let alone want, to stay in hospital.
Many more families, too, have to cope with the earlier and earlier discharge of a mental patient who, although better to a greater or lesser extent, still needs extra-special care and attention. When any of us, for whatever reason, have to be nursed or cared for at home it is only the few who know how to set about it.
For 12 years now the British Red Cross Society in association with the St. John Ambulance Brigade and the St. Andrew's Ambulance Association, has been producing a nursing manual which is primarily intended for members of their organisations and any of the public who want to take their nursing courses. In fact, the clarity and simplicity of the booklet make it the kind of home-nursing bible that a lot of people would be more than grateful for.
Not only do the authors have the sense to tell readers how to cope with various nursing procedures, they also list the different kinds of facilities available, such as a home bathing service, loan of equipment and home laundry services organised by local authorities.
They also point out, not unwisely, that some authorities provide a lot more than others. The cost of the booklet is 6s. plus Is. postage from either. the British Red Cross Society, 9 Grosvenor Crescent, London, S.W.1; the St. John Ambulance Association & Brigade, I Grosvenor Crescent, S.W.1; the St. Andrew's Ambulance Association, 98-108 North Street, Charing Cross, Glasgow, C.3.
Sailing for disabled
MESSING about in boats has always been the prerogative of the energetic, fit and healthy. Having accepted this premise then a sailing-boat, even a large 45ft. catamaran, doesn't sound all that unusual until it dawns upon one that sailing for the handicapped is the reasons behind its existence.
Shown at the International Boat Show in January, "Sparkle" is specially designed to enable the wheelchair-bound — there is space for 10 wheelchairs to move about on deck — to crew the boat as far as their inclinations and physical abilities will allow.
"Sparkle" is the brainchild and subsequent offspring of a voluntary group of sportsmen who, realising the frustrations of the handicapped, wanted to help those would-be sportsmen whose handicaps bar them for life from conventional sport.
The boat, which will be moored on the Thames at Surbiton from May 1, will be available for day or half-day trips free of charge to groups of up to 10 wheelchair-bound people. With the help of special winches and fittings, they will he able to sail her under the guidance of a qualified skipper.
Fishing rods will be available for those who prefer a lazier day out. Details of booking arrangements are being sent to all associations and welfare departments affiliated to the Central Council for the Disabled. Any other individuals or organisations, not affiliated should apply direct to the Central Council for information.
It is the Central Council, too, in association with the Red Cross, that sends out a holiday brochure—Holidays 1970—for the physically handicapped (4s.). This year the booklet is both larger and more varied, with more of the better-type hotels in places of interest like Bath and Stratford.
More than 300 pages are covered with different entries ranging from holiday flatlets to grander hotels. Sometimes accommodation has been specially designed and the booklet will point it out as it will show every facility, whether it be places offering personal help, nursing care or night ateniont.
Through things like "Sparkle" and other less unusual holidays, the social life of the disabled is becoming a reality. For no amount of medical attention and help at home can equal the joy of getting "away from it alt."