There is a large range of equipment and adaptations available which may be helpful to people living with disabilities. However for many people the difficulty arises in knowing exactly what would be useful, and how and where to get it.
Private companies, charitable organisations and Local Authority health and social care departments all offer opportunities for the loan/purchase of equipment and the provision of modifications and adaptations to the environment.
By law, Local Authorities are responsible for providing needs assessed aids & equipment (section 2; Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970) This may involve practical assistance or additional facilities, and often includes aids and, where possible, adaptations.
In England, minor home adaptations (up to the value of £1000), daily living aids, and equipment are provided free of charge.
For major home adaptations, a means tested Disabled Facilities Grant is available for people living in their own homes or privately rented accommodation. For social housing tenants, major adaptations are provided free.
Local Authority Occupational Therapist assessments will confirm which options are available; these assessments can be accessed by referral from GPs or other health and social care professionals, or in some areas directly through social services.
Mobility aids are generally assessed and provided by a Physiotherapist, who is accessed via a GP.
Equipment can also be loaned for short term use to cover trips and holidays. The British Red Cross runs a medical equipment service that gives short term loans in the UK, and - along with various charity and private agencies - throughout the world.
Electronic assistive technology systems allow someone to perform a task that they would otherwise be unable to do, which can increase or restore independence. Assistive technologies have greatly improved over recent years with the development of communication aids, environmental controls, and computer aids. All of these can empower people with disabilities and give them some level of control over their immediate environment. They are designed and modified to bring tasks to within the capabilities of the individual, and combined with smart computer technology can be operated by voice control, eye gaze or tablet computer. Referral to assistive technology can be made via GPs or health professionals.
How ICCM can support
ICCM recognises the great benefit that aids, adaptations and assistive technology can bring to our clients’ lives. Our multi-disciplinary team of nurses, case managers, occupational therapists and physiotherapists can help clients get the best possible help by signposting, making referrals and assessments, and providing evidence to support our clients with their equipment needs, as well as making sure that healthcare support workers are trained to support our client with the use of their equipment