A lodge similar to the one planned for Ballycastle
NORTHERN Ireland's first specialised holiday accommodation for people with life limiting illnesses and complex medical needs has the potential to be started shortly in Ballycastle, and the family behind the project are appealing for local support.
Richard Douglas, 28, was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy when he was three-and-a-half years old and has progressively lost the ability to move his body.
Last summer, after 18 months of shielding, Richard and his family were able to enjoy a short break in fully equipped specialised accommodation in Donegal.
His mother Sharon, takes up the story: “We were on our way home from Donegal when Richard asked me to go through Coleraine and around the North Coast into Ballycastle, a place he loved when he was younger and he has happy memories of his time spent there.
“Little did I know he was eyeing up places for an idea which was forming – he felt he wanted to replicate the specialised accommodation we'd stayed in when in Donegal and he was looking for a site!”
Sharon explained how frustrating it is for Richard when he sees a huge unmet need as there is no accessible accommodation with hoists, electric profiling beds and airflow mattresses along with other specialised equipment people with complex needs rely on to meet their daily care needs.
As a result they are excluded from having a few days away from home.
The reality is that many people with Muscular Dystrophy, Parkinson’s Disease, Motor Neurone Disease, MS as well as people who have had life changing accidents cannot enjoy a holiday and create special memories with their families in Northern Ireland.
Sharon explained: “Although the Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy dystrophy affects Richard physically it does not affect his thinking or his determination.
“He believes that once your disability becomes profound you are, in some ways, forgotten about as the law only requires reasonable adjustments to be made to holiday accommodation.
“This does not cover the equipment required to meet the basic care needs of people with life-limiting illnesses and complex needs.”
For more see this week's Ballycastle Chronicle