Equipment, adaptations and occupational therapy

If you have a disability or chronic medical condition, your quality of life can be greatly improved with the right equipment, home adaptations and expert advice. 
  
Regardless of where you live in the Highlands and whether you own home or rent it from the Council, a housing association, or a private landlord, you may be able to get help with both equipment and adaptations.

Occupational therapists (OTs) can visit you at home and work with you at a practical level. They will assess your needs and advise you of practical solutions available to you to help you get around your home.  They will suggest particular types of equipment or adaptations for your home to help you live there safely and comfortably.  
 
Physiotherapists and community nurses also sometimes carry out this type of assessment.  Who carries out the visit to your home and the assessment will depend on how you first make contact.  This is explained further below.   

Equipment

Adaptations

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Equipment

What is equipment?
 
Equipment broadly includes anything that can be re-used once you no longer need it. So it isn’t usually something that is fixed permanently in your home.
 
Common examples of equipment would be:

  • toilet seats
  • bathroom equipment that’s moveable

Larger pieces of equipment such as a stair lift are dealt with in the same way as adaptations because they involve alterations to your home.  

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How do you get equipment? 
  
No matter what type of house you live in, whether you own your own home or rent it from the Council, a Housing Association, or a private landlord, you will receive equipment in the same way as everybody else.  

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How do you get equipment if you have been in hospital?
 
If you have been in hospital and you need equipment to help you in your home once you return, your needs will be assessed by a hospital based OT or other professional such as a community nurse or physiotherapist.  For further information about Occupational Therapy in NHS Highland you can visit their website at: http://www.nhshighland.scot.nhs.uk/
 
You don’t need to organise or arrange any of this.  The hospital based staff will make sure that you are properly advised and that appropriate equipment recommended for your home. They will also make arrangements for the equipment to be delivered to your home.  This may be done by Community OTs who work for The Highland Council Social Work Service.
 
If you need further help with equipment (or adaptations) in your home once you have returned, the hospital staff will refer your case to The Highland Council Social Work Service OTs who will then contact you.  
 
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How do you get equipment if you live at home?
 
If you are at home and you think equipment would help you in your home, you should contact your local Social Work Service office in order to request a visit and assessment by an OT.   
 
Your OT will advise what equipment is suitable and available to help you and make arrangements for it to be installed to your home.  Your OT will also make sure you are comfortable using the equipment. 

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Is there a charge for equipment?
 
There is currently no charge for equipment provided. 

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What happens when you no longer need the equipment?
 
Your OT will be responsible for arranging for the collection of equipment once you no longer need it. 

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Adaptations 

What is an adaptation?
 
An adaptation to your home is basically anything that alters it physically including things that are fixed in your home in order to assist your movements.
Examples of minor adaptations would include:

  • hand rails
  • ramps

Examples of more major adaptations would include:

  • alterations to your toilet or bathroom facilities
  • alterations to doors, pathways, kitchen, car access to your house
  • hoists, stair lifts

An adaptation to your home will be carried out in a slightly different way depending on whether you own your home or rent it from the Council, a Housing Association, or a private landlord.  But no matter what tenure of house you live in you will be entitled to the same assessment for adaptations as anyone else. 

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How do you get your home adapted if you are a Council tenant?
 
In order to be assessed for an adaptation in your home, you should contact your local Social Work Service office.  Alternatively you could contact your local Housing Office who will pass your details to the Social Work Service OTs.  

Your details will be recorded and an OT will visit you and carry out an assessment of your home.  In some cases, depending on what you have asked for, you may be able to fill out a self assessment form instead of having the assessment done by the OT – see the section on self assessment for more information about this. You will be advised on the options available to you and if your home is suitable for an adaptation
 
If an adaptation is suitable and necessary for your home, your details will be forwarded to Housing Services to carry out the work.  Your OT will take care of this. 

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What about self-assessment?
 
Self assessment is done by giving you a form to fill out giving details about what you need and why. Some minor adaptations are available in this way.  If you meet certain criteria based on the information on your form, you will be put forward for an adaptation to your home without the need for a visit by an OT.  Your local Social Work Service office will advice you of the criteria you should meet to be considered for this and send you a self assessment form.
 
Once they have received your form and your request for a minor adaptation has been accepted, your case will be referred to Housing Services to carry out the work.

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What about fast track?
 
In some areas of Highland there is also a fast track system in place for level access showers and also for a change of heating system.  You need to meet certain criteria in order to be considered for this.
 
Your local Social Work Service office will advise you if fast track is available in your area and if you meet the criteria to be considered for this.  You will be sent the appropriate self assessment form to fill out and if you meet the criteria, your adaptation request can be referred to Housing Services to carry out the work without the need for a visit from an OT.
 
Please note: self-assessment and fast track does not necessarily mean that you receive your adaptation more quickly.  However it can speed up the assessment process because you don’t have to wait to see an OT.  

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Is there a waiting list?
 
There may be a waiting list to see an OT and/or get your home adapted.  
 
The people with the greatest needs will be given the highest priority.  You should be given guidance on how long you may have to wait once you have asked your local Social Work Service office for an assessment. 
 
Once an assessment has been carried out by an OT, there may also be a wait for any adaptation works to be done.  There is a limited budget for adaptations work to be carried out and how long you have to wait will depend on the priority you have been given and the budget available. You will be given guidance on this once your case has been referred by your OT to Housing Services.

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Do you have to pay?
 
If you are a Council tenant, Housing Services will carry out the work for you free of charge.  

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How do you get your home adapted if you are a Housing Association tenant? 
 
Your landlord may have their own arrangements in place to deal with adaptations to your home so you should discuss your options with them in the first instance.

In order to be considered for an adaptation to your home you can request an assessment by contacting your local Social Work Service office or your housing association landlord.
 
An assessment will then be carried out by an OT and a referral will be made to your landlord, explaining what is required and asking them to make the necessary arrangements.  

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What about self-assessment?
 
Self assessment is done by giving you a form to fill out giving details about what you need and why. Some minor adaptations are available in this way.  If you meet certain criteria based on the information on your form, you will be put forward for an adaptation to your home without the need for a visit by an OT.  Your local Social Work Service office will advice you of the criteria you should meet to be considered for this and send you a self assessment form.
 
Once they have received your form and your request for a minor adaptation has been accepted, your case can be progressed without the need for a visit from an OT.  For details on funding see the section on charges below. 

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What about fast track?
 
In some areas of Highland there is also a fast track system in place for level access showers and also for a change of heating system.  You need to meet certain criteria in order to be considered for this.
 
Your local Social Work Service office will advise you if fast track is available in your area and if you meet the criteria to be considered for this.  You will be sent the appropriate self assessment form to fill out and if you meet the criteria, your adaptation request can be progressed without the need for a visit from an OT.

Please note: self-assessment and fast track does not necessarily mean that you receive your adaptation more quickly.  However it can speed up the assessment process because you don’t have to wait to see an OT. 

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Is there a waiting list?
 
There may be a waiting list to see an OT and/or get your home adapted.  
 
The people with the greatest needs will be given the highest priority.  You should be given guidance on how long you may have to wait once you have asked your local Social Work Service office for an assessment. 
 
Once an assessment has been carried out by an OT, you should discuss any further details and waiting times with your landlord if you are a Housing Association tenant, or with Housing Services if you are applying for funding for your adaptation.  See section on charges below. 

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Do you have to pay if you are a Housing Association tenant? 
 
You should discuss this with your landlord.  Many Housing Associations have their own procedures for carrying out adaptations to the homes they manage.

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How do you get your home adapted if you are an owner occupier or private tenant?
 
If you are an owner occupier or private tenant, you can get assistance with adaptations through the Highland Council Scheme of Assistance

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