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A year after it was launched, Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children’s priority equipment loan service has made its landmark 50th ‘Just Can’t Wait’ provision.

‘Just Can’t Wait’ (JCW) aims to deliver essential specialist equipment to the homes of terminally ill children within 72 hours of a referral from an appropriate professional being approved. The service is free of charge and operates across the whole of the UK.

The unique priority service was launched in 2011 as a spin-off of the charity’s Equipment Grant scheme as it had become apparent that some children just couldn’t wait for vital equipment to be placed on order.

Newlife lead nurse Karen Dobson said: “When we launched the service last year we were offering specialist beds, Chunc wheelchairs and portable hoists. We have since expanded our suite of JCW equipment to include comfortable seating, walking frames and other types of wheelchairs and buggies and we have items specifically earmarked for use in Northern Ireland. In addition, Newlife is currently actively fundraising to build on this service still further.”

She added: “We have been helping, on average, one child a week through JCW, but the service has the capacity to support many more families.”

The 50th child helped through JCW was a four-year-old girl from Essex who needed a tilt-in-space wheelchair following diagnosis of a brain tumour. Since then, a further ten children have been provided with JCW equipment in quick succession and, during the past year, an additional 11 enquiries for equipment not in stock were fast-tracked by Newlife nurses.

Enquiries and referrals are be made to JCW by health care professionals. Newlife’s national Nurse Helpline – 0800 902 0095 – offers information and practical support on a wide range of children’s disability issues and is the first point of contact when applying for a Newlife equipment grant or Just Can’t Wait loan.

Karen Dobson said: “It is still early days for this emergency loan service and we want to make more people aware of how we can help. Because of the sensitivity surrounding applications, we are looking to fellow health professionals – in particular occupational therapists, physiotherapists, community care nurses, paediatricians and nurses working with life-limited children – to refer patients to Just Can’t Wait.”

The availability and range of equipment varies from day to day, depending on demands on the service, and all items are clinically cleaned, refurbished, technically tested and maintained by qualified suppliers and specialists. The cost of individual adaptations, installation, insurance, technical repairs and maintenance are covered by Newlife, at no cost to families.

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, said: “We have been repeatedly asked ‘What’s the catch?’ There is no catch. Newlife is committed to supporting disabled children through awarding equipment grants, providing a nurse helpline, funding medical research and campaigning to improve services. Just Can’t Wait is just one of the ways in which we can direct resources to meet the specific needs of some of the UK’s most vulnerable children.”

More About ‘Just Can’t Wait’ here

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