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Home adaptations and occupational therapist assessments

Your occupational therapist (OT) wants to find out what you need to support you in your home.

The OT will also look at your home. They write a report about you and what changes to your housing could make your life easier. If you do not own your home, you will need permission from your landlord to make any changes to physical features.

Most people are assessed by their local authority, but some care teams also include an OT. Getting an assessment and adaptations can take time. You could also get a private assessment.

If you do not own your home

You will need to get your landlord’s permission to make change any physical features. This could be a private landlord, housing association or your local authority.

If you count as disabled under the Equality Act, you have the right to reasonable adjustments. This means adjustments that do not mean making a physical or structural change to your home.

Definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010 (GOV.UK)

Asking your landlord for home adaptations

Getting an assessment

Most people get an assessment by asking their local authority’s adult social care team. There may be a waiting list.

If your care team includes an OT, the OT might be able to assess you. Ask them how you could get an assessment.

Getting home adaptations

Private assessments

If you are planning to pay for your own adaptations, you could pay an OT to assess you. This OT would not be working for your local authority or the NHS.

Paying to be assessed could be faster than waiting for you local authority to assess you.

If you do not own your own home, you will still need permission from your landlord to make changes to physical features.

Search for a registered Occupational Therapist (Health and Care Professions Council)

Before your assessment

Say if you need support in the assessment. For example, if you want:

  • someone else there to support you, like a family member, friend or independent advocate
  • to see the OT alone, without your parent or carer
  • to meet at a particular time of day because of your condition

Getting support and knowing your rights to adaptations can be difficult. An advocate or social worker may be able to help support you with your social care assessment.

Advocacy and links to organisations (Disability Rights UK)

Make a list of:

  • anything you find it difficult to do at home and want them to pay attention to
  • what things it’s important for you to be able to do at home and why
  • equipment and adaptations you’ve already tried and reasons why they did or did not work

For example, if you’ve used a shower in a wet room when you’ve not been able to bathe at home.

What happens in an assessment

The OT will visit you at home to see how things are set up there. They want to know:

  • what you can do around the home
  • what you find it difficult to do
  • what you need to do things safely

They will ask you questions about:

  • how things can be made easier
  • what equipment you’ve already tried

They might ask you to show them how you do things. You can say if you do not want to and they will find another way to find out what adaptations might help.

You can ask for a specific adaptation, but the OT will need to understand why you need it.

For example:

“My condition means that I can’t stand safely in my shower or get in and out of my bath. And sitting on a bath board is painful for me.

I’ve tried a shower chair but it doesn’t fit in my shower. Would a wet room with a chair be the best way for me to clean myself?”

The OT will think about what equipment will help you

They will start by thinking about the smallest change that could make the biggest difference. This could be a bath board, bath rails and then maybe a wet room.

If your condition means that you need support with personal care, they may ask you some personal questions.

For example, the OT could ask how you wash.

If a carer helps you to wash, they will ask you how your carer supports you. For example:

  • physical help with large or small movements
  • getting in and out of the shower or bath
  • moving around
  • being reminded what you need to do next, verbally or by using pictures

After the assessment

The OT will write a report and may do a sketch of your home and how they want to adapt it.

They may talk to you again about what adaptations they’re going to recommend and why. You can also say why it might or might not work.

Permission from your landlord

If you do not own your home, you will need permission from your landlord to make changes to the features and structure.

Asking your landlord for home adaptations

They might talk with the person who manages your housing to see how the adaptations could work in your home. If there’s an adaptation that you need that cannot be made in your home, they might recommend that you move.

Funding for adaptations

You can be eligible for funding from you local authority, no matter who owns you home. As well as homes owned and managed by local authorities, this includes housing associations and private landlords.

Most local authorities and housing associations have a budget to pay for small changes to your home that cost under £1,000. These are not means-tested (based on your income and savings).

Local authorities and housing associations pay for adaptations that cost over £1,000 through a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). DFGs are available for children and adults. They are means-tested for adults.

Some charities also fund adaptations.

Disability grants for home adaptations

Last reviewed by Scope on: 06/12/2019

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