Friday, 17 July 2015

Total Community Care: A trip to America

My name is Nick and I have been a C3/4 client of TCC since 2007.  I would like to share my experiences from my family holiday to Florida.

I traveled on Christmas day with Virgin Atlantic and once I had  pre-booked passenger assistance, I found them very helpful as a high level Tetra, I was prioritised a bulk head seat which was unquestionably vital for a long haul flight. Having arrived at Orlando International Airport, I had no trouble finding a wheel chair accessible taxi to transport me to my villa.  The journey took roughly 45 minutes at a cost of approximately 100 dollars.

I stayed in a 5 bedroomed, fully accessible, completely equipped villa in Davenport, with lots to entertain my 2 young nephews, including a games room and an accessible swimming pool with a hoist. Unfortunately,  I was unable to  use the swimming pool due to the unexpected cold weather the east coast of America suffered in December and January,  just my luck!  The website for the villa is and you will note that their ‘from that’ prices are very reasonable.

Despite partly choosing America as our holiday destination for the good weather, the main purpose of our holiday was to experience the many parks and attractions.  I purchased a 14 day Disney and Universal combo ticket from  Please be aware, as you may have seen in the press,  there are no longer any concessions for disabled people, as far as ticket prices or queuing are concerned,  however you will receive priority parking.

As my carer had unfortunately fractured her foot prior to the holiday and was unable to drive, throughout the first week of the holiday, I had to use accessible taxis. This became too expensive and therefore, I made the decision to hire a wheelchair accessible van which I would highly recommend. Website;       

As we were in Florida for New Year we went to the Medieval Times show. Here we were entertained by knights fighting on horseback whilst enjoying a delicious four course meal. The highlight of the holiday was watching my two nephews swimming with dolphins at Discovery Cove and watching the Killer whale show at SeaWorld. I also enjoyed the stunt car show at Universal Studios.

We enjoyed eating out in many restaurants with very good and friendly service. The custom in America is to tip at least 20% unless the service is terrible, as the staff are on very low pay, but in our experience they deserved it.

I would like to thank TCC for their help and support which enabled me to enjoy this once in a life time holiday.  I also want to thank my carer Emma for all her hard work and effort during my holiday.

I hope that my experience will help and encourage others to do the same. 


Nick is a current client of SIA’s Ruby Corporate Partner, Total Community Care. To read more about Total Community Care and the support that they have given to SIA over the years please visit their Ruby Corporate Partner page here or you can also find out more on their website.  

Monday, 13 July 2015

Total Community Care: Rehabilitation Following a Spinal Cord Injury

Rehabilitation following a Spinal cord injury is a very different proposition from when I last worked on a spinal unit. Whilst this clearly shows I am getting older it also highlights the challenges faced by spinal units and its patients. Lengths of stay have reduced significantly and it not unusual for appropriate rehabilitation goals for a cervical injury being completed within a 16 week period compared with 28 weeks in the 1990’s.

This may well evidence better use of resources, a more finely tuned and effective rehabilitation team and a more focussed and dynamic approach to rehabilitation. It could however reflect the increasing pressure on spinal units to utilise their available beds in a way that whilst ensuring access for as many as possible may result in a more difficult and complex transition into the community for the patient.  Transfer to local district general hospitals, nursing homes and other rehabilitation centres are not uncommon.  

As a specialist care provider with extensive spinal cord injury experience we at TCC Ltd are confident that we can successfully manage clients who have not yet fully adjusted to their injury and need time and support to enable them to become empowered and self-directing individuals. However for those who cannot access specialist services and are reliant on generic care agencies the future may be less positive. The Spinal Injuries Association has recognised the need for increased support for those who require support in the community and in hospital settings and their Outreach team provide an invaluable service for those who may not ever reach a spinal centre and for those who require ongoing support and assistance. It is evident however that this service will need to expand to meet the needs of the spinal population if increased resources are not provided to spinal injuries centres to enable them to effectively rehabilitate their patients. TCC Ltd is committed to support the work of the Outreach team and our sponsorship of the newly injured packs provided by the team illustrates this commitment.

Chris Freestone - Director, Total Community Care 

To read more about TCC and the support they have given SIA please visit their Ruby Corporate Partner page here or you can also visit their website

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Total Community Care: Continuing Healthcare

In this day and age of advances in research and technology it is depressing that many of the spinal cord community still have to struggle with very basic needs.  Innovations such as the Exo skeleton and breakthroughs in research involving stem cell therapy are clearly hugely positive and genuinely exciting.

However we at TCC Ltd continue to hear and get involved with very depressing stories of individuals who have to fight to obtain funding and struggle against a system that seems illogical and unfair. The geographical variances in meeting the criteria of continuing health care is something that we regularly have to work with. Clients in neighbouring counties with the same level of injury and same care needs receiving dramatically different funding is very familiar territory to us. The use of District or Community nurse input for an inflexible bowel regime is also something we hear a lot of; reinforcing TCC Ltd’s strongly held belief that clients should have their own bespoke team who can provide for all of their care needs. Even worse are those who receive inadequate care through “drop in” visits often through a domiciliary care provider who has little specialist knowledge of spinal cord injury; thus placing the individual at significant risk of harm.

The system creaks on and there are positives on the horizon with personal health budgets becoming a reality and more joined up thinking in some areas with health and social care budgets being shared.

The SIA do fantastic work in the area of funding with Brian O’Shea happy to take up the battle to inform and educate health care professionals on some of the issues faced by spinal cord injured clients. TCC Ltd are proud to support the Spinal injuries Association in all of the work that they do and look forward to our continued relationship in promoting the rights  of individuals with a spinal cord injury.

Chris Freestone – Director, Total Community Care

Friday, 3 July 2015

Total Community Care: Getting out and about

For some people after they have sustained a spinal cord injury and have become full time wheelchair users, the thought of going out again can feel a bit daunting and disheartening. There is a worry about transport, accessibility, extra time, assistance required, etc, which can all contribute to people opting to stay at home within their comfort zone or going to local places that they are familiar with rather than venturing further afield.

When I suggested taking Jack out for the very first time he was quite apprehensive. This was over 7 years ago when Jack was only 18 years old. He has got a high level of spinal cord injury, C2, and uses a power chair. I took him to the West End to see Spamalot the musical and it was a learning curve for both of us. Driving and parking in Central London can be stressful, but we managed and realised that if we can get to an old theatre in Piccadilly Circus, we can get anywhere.

Over the past 7 years we have been to various places and have seen a number of great gigs, musicals and stand-up comedians; Foo Fighters, Alan Davies, Wicked, Darren Brown, Mickey Flanagan, Rhod Gilbert, that’s just to name a few.  We have visited big venues, such as Wembley and O2 Arena, as well as smaller theatres, such as St. Alban’s Arena or The Stables in Milton Keynes. Parking or accessibility have never been an issue, a free ticket for a carer has always been a nice bonus, and assistance provided by staff at every venue was faultless. We have a great time whenever we go out and we are already looking forward to seeing Dara O’Brien at Hammersmith Apollo this October.

Veronika Capova,

Jack is fortunate to receive care provided by SIA’s Ruby Corporate Partner, Total Community Care. To read more about Total Community Care and the support that they have given to SIA over the years please visit their Ruby Corporate Partner page here or you can also find out more on their website.  

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Total Community Care: Peggy's Story

Hi, my name is Peggy and I sustained a spinal cord injury in March 2008 after an extremely serious road traffic accident. It took over two hours for me to be cut out of the car, so I was lucky to be air lifted by The Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance to the nearest hospital. It was there I was told that I had a complete C5, C6, C7 injury.

After spending 11 months in four hospitals I finally moved to an adapted home. I soon became aware of the amazing work that the Spinal Injuries Association do in helping people to rebuild their lives again, after such a massive trauma. I subscribe to their magazine, "Forward", which is always interesting and informative.

I am also fortunate that I have an excellent care company, Total Community Care, and simply the best team of carers/personal assistants!! With their help I have improved considerably over the past seven years, so that my injury may now even be incomplete. Who knows?

Besides supporting the SIA, I am also passionate about the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance, who quite literally saved my life. As a result, my daughter and I are volunteers for the DSAA and I have recently started giving talks in our local area, to help raise awareness of such a wonderful charity. Many people are unaware that there is no funding from central government.

I was fortunate enough to meet some of the DSAA crew nearly four years ago and as you can see I was photographed with them. They are very highly trained and skilled and always have a qualified paramedic on board. As you can imagine I am delighted to promote the DSAA charity, because although we think we are all invincible, you never know when you may need them! After all when you end up with SCI you actually realise how fragile our lives can be! 

Peggy Sutton 

For more information about Total Community Care and the support that they give SIA please visit their Ruby Corporate Partner page here.