I am interested in hearing from any contributors regarding the effect AF has had on their welfare, employment and care needs. Whether it be AF as a cause of mobility problems or problems with personal care or accessing local authority services such as getting help with housework or shopping.
There are a range of welfare benefits which can support people with difficulties and there is a suggestion that people with problematic AF are simply unable to get vital help because little is known about the symptoms and effects on day to day activities. More also needs to be done by EP cardiology medicine to provide specific information relevant to symptoms suffered by individuals so that they can access the range if help available.
The kind of AF related problems which may entitle you to claim disability related employment help or help with personal or mobility care or social care include things like.
Problems with muscles
Getting out and about
Palpitations and accessing people or help during AF episodes
There are many more.
The kind of help you can get includes
Disability grants for adaptations when thing like stairs are a problem
Employment support allowance if you can not work due to your AF. You may still be able to do a little work when claiming ESA under the permitted rules.
Personal independence payment (PIP) which replaced DLA. You can still get PIP if you work.
Help with social care from your local council
Blue badge to help you get out and about.
The type of help you may get would be dependent on your individual medical circumstances.
I wonder if the AF association has any thoughts about developing a welfare section with advise. Particularly A series of short AF association blank medical templates for medical professionals to complete might help improve AF patients needing help getting access to it as we all know AF is a difficult condition to provide supportive medical evidence to help people access the correct support.
Also there has been a lot of work on the psychological implications of AF on how it affects sufferers, their employment, accessing normal community activities, relationships and personal coping. There is a distinct lack of access to quality and easy to understand publications on how to access appropriate psychological therapies to help crease personal confidence in dealing with the problems of AF. I spent an hour looking through the questions and postings and there is very little response to obtaining psychological help,to deal with what can be very distressing issues arising from being diagnosed with AF or ongoing issues.
I recently contacted the BHF about an AF patient having problems at work but they were unable to provide any insight into how to obtain counselling and help with employment related issues or discrimination directly connected to AF.
Does anyone have any thoughts on how welfare help for AF sufferers could be developed and products designed to help get people in need the help they are entitled to which is additional to medical treatments?
Other impairment related charity such as cancer, MS, mental health, HIV etc have got some degree of welfare related help on their main patient voice representative websites. Some offer advice services due to the impairment specific nature of obtaining help and the complexity of a particular impairment. The RNIB offers tailored advice on how to obtain welfare help and social care help for visually impaired members. It's a broad comprehensive based service. There are around 350,000 visually impaired persons obtaining welfare help. The number of of AF sufferers is around three times this number and little is none about accessing or the levels of help being currently supplied. My concluding thoughts are that this is area of AF which is an unknown quantity and there is an opportunity to try investigate and scope the potential for improved help services.
In the short term I found a link to a blog which aims to provide information on topics and welfare on disability help at thinkability.org.uk