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A woman with disability confined to her home for over a year due to an unusable lift

woman in wheelchair

A U.K. woman with a disability has been confined to the first floor of her house for the past fifteen months because a wrong size lift was installed. Stroke survivor Michelle Phillips has been stuck because the elevator is too small for her to use.

“It’s affecting my physical health, and my mental health is deteriorating significantly. Because we cannot access any medical treatment, hospital clinics are now starting to discharge me,” she was quoted as saying in a news report.

Before the new lift was installed, Michelle, 47, who relies on a wheelchair, was able to live independently for many years by having a lift in her two-story home.

In March last year, the Stockport council installed a new model in her privately-owned Davenport property after the previous lift malfunctioned.

But when Michelle, who cannot bend her knee and has had her leg in a ‘cricket pad’ splint for several years, tried to use it, she discovered it wasn’t deep enough to safely accommodate her wheelchair.

With her leg needing to be kept horizontal, the lift is around 15 cms too short in depth for Michelle to be able to close the door.

Michelle first spoke out about her situation last autumn when she had been stuck inside for six months.

She marked off a year of being confined to her home just as the coronavirus lockdown began across the country. Now she says her mental health has significantly deteriorated from being cut off from the outside world for months.

Michelle says being inside for so long is having a severe impact on her wellbeing. She lost her hair due to stress alopecia and said she fears she might end up spending the rest of her life in one room.

Michelle, who also has epilepsy and the connective tissue disorder Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, is reliant on the support of her dad Stuart, carers, friends, and neighbors and fears her health will deteriorate further if nothing is done.

Michelle added: “I’m socially isolated, it’s affecting my relationships. “I’ve lost my independence; my carer thinks I’m losing my confidence. Most of the time, I’m bed-bound because of complications.

“I want to know how much longer it will be until there is a resolution. Am I to spend the rest of my life in one room?

The lift, which was funded by a Disabled Facilities Grant, was locked shut when it became clear it wasn’t safe to be used and has never been commissioned.

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