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Delays in council’s home adaptations force disabled man and wife to live apart (2 September 2015)

Date: 02/09/2015
Duncan Lewis, Legal News Solicitors, Delays in council’s home adaptations force disabled man and wife to live apart

A man suffering from Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) has been forced to live apart from his wife because of council delays in adapting his home to meet his needs.

Local publisher the Gazette reports that 57-year-old Ken Longstaff and his wife Beverley, 55, from Darlington in County Durham are desperate for him to return to live at the family home.

Mr Longstaff was discharged from James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough in 2014, after being treated for GBS for 11 months. He has been left paralysed by the neurological condition.

Mr Longstaff was first admitted to a care home for the elderly specialising in dementia and strokes, before he was moved to The Gateway Neuro-Rehabilitation Centre in Middlehaven, Middlesbrough.

However, three years after he was first taken ill with GBS, the details of adaptations needed to the family home have yet to be finalised.

Local health and council officers say they are continuing to work with the family and £30,000 funding has been agreed – but there have been “difficulties in agreeing how best to use this to adapt the home to meet the needs of Mr Longstaff”.

Mr Longstaff said that the delays have taken a toll on his marriage.

“We’ve almost become like brother and sister,” he said. “We have no privacy and we’re living apart. It’s like being divorced.

“It’s not easy, but you just have to try your best. We try to go out for a coffee and be as normal as we can – but come 8pm, we say goodbye to each other for another couple of days. It’s really difficult.”

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