Emily Wilkinson

May 2, 2015 Emily Wilkinson

Lancashire care provider assists family with respite relief

Twelve-year old Emily Wilkinson from Widnes, Cheshire, has the mental capacity of an 18-month old toddler and suffers from a number of complex conditions that impact her daily life, along with that of her family.

Emily’s father, 50-year old John Wilkinson and his wife, 42-year old Lisa Wilkinson, found it difficult to juggle full-time employment with the care of Emily and their eldest daughter, 17-year old May. Thanks to the respite care provided by Preston-based Community Life Choices, the Wilkinson family have significantly improved their quality of life.

Whilst in the womb Emily suffered a brain haemorrhage, which led to the development of Hydrocephalus, a condition otherwise known as water on the brain. Sadly, an operation to clear the blockage proved unsuccessful.

The damage caused by the condition led to Emily developing cerebral palsy, epilepsy and, due to the pressure placed on her optic nerve, being registered as blind. As a result, Emily has profound learning difficulties and can only walk a few steps without assistance. She is also double incontinent and has no concept of danger, so requires constant care and supervision.

John explains: “We recognised early on that caring for Emily was extremely demanding, which proves even more difficult when I work 45 hours a week and my wife Lisa, works three nights a week caring for elderly nuns in a convent.”

The Wilkinson family have received respite care since 2011, yet in April 2013 their local authority, Halton Borough Council, changed its care provider to Community Life Choices.

John continued: “Community Life Choices provides us with respite care every Wednesday from 7pm to 10pm. This temporary relief gives us time to be Lisa and John again, whether that’s going to the cinema or simply grabbing a bite to eat.

“Joanne Hill, Emily’s personal assistant (PA), is truly fantastic. Due to Emily’s condition, she can only communicate basic needs such as food, drink, music and cuddles, but having the same personal assistant means that Emily recognises Joanne and every Wednesday she will say ‘Jo coming, Jo coming’.

“Having epilepsy means that Emily could suffer a major seizure at any time, which requires specific medication to be issued. Joanne is specially trained in how to respond in these situations to help protect our daughter.

“Community Life Choices have been extremely flexible and strive to accommodate our needs. They allow us to bank our respite care and take longer slots of time. For example, Joanne recently cared for Emily from 6pm to 12pm so we could attend a family party. Events like this can prove difficult as Emily dislikes crowds of people and can act out easily. They even allow us to rearrange last minute say if a family member was sick or the weather wasn’t looking too nice.

“I would recommend Community Life Choices and respite care to any parents that are struggling. It’s only natural to try and take care of a loved one yourself, but this will only make the situation much worse. At the end of the day, you’re only human. Respite will not only make you better, but allow you to provide better care.”

Community Life Choices offers advice and support to adults and children in need of personalised health and social care services. For more information contact info@communitylifechoices.co.uk or call 01772 804088.

©2015 Community Life Choices