People with hidden disabilities to benefit from Blue Badges

Blue Badge scheme to be extended to hidden disabilities, including autism and mental health conditions.

  • Blue Badge scheme to be extended to people with ‘hidden’ disabilities
  • Biggest overhaul to the system in 40 years, offering accessible parking for people who find travel difficult
  • part of the government’s drive to build a society that works for all

People with hidden disabilities, including autism and mental health conditions will soon have access to Blue Badges, removing the barriers many face to travel.

The Blue Badge scheme already means those with physical disabilities can park closer to their destination than other drivers, as they are less able to take public transport or walk longer distances.

In the biggest overhaul to the scheme since the 1970s, this will now be extended to those with less visible conditions early next year.

Transport Minister Jesse Norman said:

Blue badges are a lifeline for disabled people, giving them the freedom and confidence to get to work and visit friends independently.

The changes we have announced today will ensure that this scheme is extended equally to people with hidden disabilities so that they can enjoy the freedoms that many of us take for granted.

The new criteria will extend eligibility to people who:

  • cannot undertake a journey without there being a risk of serious harm to their health or safety or that of any other person (such as young children with autism)
  • cannot undertake a journey without it causing them very considerable psychological distress
  • have very considerable difficulty when walking (both the physical act and experience of walking)

The changes follow an 8-week consultation and are part of the government’s drive for greater parity between physical and mental health conditions.

Blue Badge

Although people with non-physical disabilities are not excluded from receiving a Blue Badge, the current rules are open to interpretation. The new criteria will give clear and consistent guidelines on Blue Badge eligibility for the whole of England.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work, Sarah Newton said:

It’s absolutely right that disabled people are able to go about their daily life without worrying about how they will get from one place to another.

We’re taking an important step forward in ensuring people with hidden disabilities get the support they need to live independently.

Jane Harris, Director of External Affairs at the National Autistic Society, said:

Today’s Blue Badge announcement will make a massive difference to the lives of many of the 600,000 autistic people in England, and their families.

Just leaving the house is a challenge for many autistic people, involving detailed preparation – and sometimes overwhelming anxiety about plans going wrong. And some autistic people might not be aware of the dangers of the road or become overwhelmed by busy or loud environments. The possibility of not being able to find a parking space near where you’re going can mean you can’t contemplate leaving the house at all.

The National Autistic Society and our supporters have been highlighting problems with the current rules to the government for many years. We’re thrilled that they have listened to the concerns of autistic people and their families, taking into account their needs for certainty and safety. Now it’s important to make sure that these changes are implemented fully and quickly.

The consultation, which ran from 21 January 2018 to 8 March 2018, received more than 6,000 responses from across the country.

The Department for Transport will now work with stakeholders to develop new guidance to help them administer their Blue Badge schemes when these changes come into force.

The government recently set out its plans to improve accessibility across all modes of transport in the Inclusive Transport Strategy which launched on 25 July 2018. The strategy aims to make the UK’s transport network fully inclusive by 2030.

How to Choose the Best Bed for the Disabled

Most of us spend around a third of our lives in bed, so we think it’s pretty important to ensure that the time spent in bed is as comfortable as possible. Here at Grosvenor Mobility, one of our priorities is ensuring it’s easy for our customers to get in and out of bed, move around, and sleep comfortably. A good night’s sleep isn’t just essential for the well-being of a person, but it also for some can mean the difference between being able to complete daily tasks or activities.

What’s Important for People with Disabilities?

For people with disabilities, it is extra important that beds are comfortable because they may have restricted movement during the night. Also, certain disabilities may require spending more time in bed than usual, which is why it’s so important to choose a specialised bed that provides comfort and support.

So, how do you choose the best bed for the disabled?

Consider the Individual’s Disability and Needs

Every person is different and disabilities cause individuals to struggle in different ways. Some disabilities cause a person to struggle physically with movements such as getting in an out of bed or changing position in the night. While other disabilities may cause difficulty breathing, limited circulation, or aches and pains.

So, before purchasing a bed for a disabled person it’s important to consider their needs and the bed features that would be most beneficial for them. Whether you have a disability yourself or you care for a disabled person, hopefully this guide will help you understand how to choose the best bed to benefit the individual and their unique needs.

How Physical Disabilities Affect a Person’s Sleep

Individuals with physical disabilities (where motor functions and physical abilities are affected) such as Cerebral Palsy, spinal cord injury, polio, arthritis, or a limb amputation. These physical ailments or disabilities can be associated with significant discomfort and even pain throughout the day. And for many people, the pain can be worsened at night – often making it difficult for affected individuals to get comfortable or fall asleep. For many, they often wake up throughout the night because of the pain.

Adjustable Bed Frames for People with Disabilities

Adjustable bed frames are ideal for people with disabilities that affect their sleep or physical movement. Today, due to modern technology, most adjustable beds are electric and remote-controlled, allowing the adjustment of the sleeper with minimal effort.

Bed for Disabled Person

Most adjustable beds can be easily raised at the foot or head of the bed, providing people with disabilities the relief from aches and pains they need to get a comfortable night’s sleep.

Orthopaedic Mattresses on a Bed for Disabled People

After choosing the bed for a disabled person, the mattress is another important factor. Orthopaedic mattresses are specifically designed for the comfort of disabled people. These firm, reliable, and durable mattresses provide individual’s the support they need – more so than standard shop-bought mattresses.

The addition of an orthopaedic mattress to an adjustable bed can make all the difference to an individual, helping keep them comfortable all-night long. It is advisable to spend some time trying out different mattresses to find the most suitable design. Finding the best mattress can be especially important for certain disabilities where staying in bed longer than usual may be necessary.

Electric Beds for the Disabled

Finding an electric bed for the disabled can be tricky as there are so many offers out there. Most mobility furniture companies will sell a variety of high-quality electric beds that have been specifically built with disabilities, physical ailments, or mobility problems in mind.

Electric beds are ideal for people with disabilities as they may be unable to change position throughout the night, to reduce pressure. People with physical disabilities can find it difficult to move around during the night or may be completely unable to do so without assistance. This can mean they remain in one position for an extremely sustained period of time, which can cause a lot of discomfort and pain.

The electric bed is designed to be specially adjusted to suit the needs of the individual. Whether they would like the foot of the bed raised or the head, more support under the back, or a curved mattress, with the electric adjustable bed they can achieve the ultimate sleeping position for them at the click of a button.

Other Considerations to Keep in Mind

When choosing a bed for a disabled person, some other things you might want to consider are the size of the bed, the price, the materials used in making the bed, and any accessories that will enhance a person’s comfort.

Free Demonstration Service

Some companies such as Grosvenor Mobility offer a free demonstration service. This can be useful as an expert can show you all the features and demonstrate how the bed works before you buy. An electric, adjustable bed can be an expensive purchase which is why it’s important to shop around. The benefits afforded by an adjustable bed however can add to the quality of life and make for a much more comfortable sleep, so choose wisely.

Source: Grosvenor Mobility