After a serious injury, it may be necessary to make adaptations to your home to improve your mobility and independence, as well as keep you safe and secure.
These may be simple alterations, such as installing handrails and simple ramps, to bigger projects such as installing accessible bathrooms and fitting stairlifts.
Often, a social services Occupational Therapist will undertake a care needs assessment of your situation and environment to make recommendations about what could be done to overcome any barriers you are facing and improve your independence. An Occupational Therapist is a therapist who helps patients to access purposeful activity and increase independence by looking at activities you are finding difficult and addressing whether there are other ways of doing these activities.
How can I get a care needs assessment?
You should be able to access Occupational Therapy, and a care needs assessment, through the NHS or social services free of charge. To get a referral, you can speak with your GP or contact your local authority directly to ask for an assessment. Visit gov.uk/find-local-council and type in your postcode to find out who your local council is and details of their website.
You can also pay for private Occupational Therapy. You can find a list of qualified and registered Occupational Therapists on The Royal College of Occupational Therapist website.
An Occupational Therapy assessment will identify:
- Any aids and equipment you may need to assist you with everyday tasks such as washing and dressing, preparing a meal and improving mobility and independence.
- Assess any adaptations needed to a property to overcome barriers, such as additional railings, widening of doors, ramps and accessible rooms.
- Look at modifying tasks and developing skills to undertake activities differently.
Paying for adaptations to your home
If your assessment identifies you need adaptations to your home, you may be able to access financial help to pay for these. Whether you receive this financial support often depends on whether your home needs minor or major adaptations.
Funding minor adaptations after a serious injury
Minor adaptations include things such as installing handrails in your home or fitting alternative taps in bathrooms and kitchens to make them easier to use.
If you live in England, you will usually be provided with any aids, equipment or adaptations to your home up to the value of £1,000 free of charge, providing your care needs assessment shows you need it and you are eligible for this funding.
In Wales, you may have to contribute to the cost of any aids, equipment or adaptations, but this will be based on your financial circumstances.
Major adaptations to your home after a serious injury
Major adaptations include things such as fitting accessible bathrooms and wet rooms, making doorways wider or lowering kitchen worktops.
If you require major adaptations to your home following a serious injury, you should apply for a Disability Facilities Grant. These grants are paid by your local authority.
Am I eligible for a Disability Facilities Grant?
You should apply for a Disability Facilities Grant if your care needs assessment by your local authority Occupational Therapist identifies that these adaptations are necessary and appropriate for your needs. These grants are means-tested, so your local authority will assess your and your partner's income and savings.
The process of applying and receiving a Disability Facilities Grant can take up to 12 months. In England, the maximum grant you can receive is £30,000, and the maximum in Wales is £36,000.
What adaptations can be covered by a Disability Facilities Grant?
There are lots of different adaptations that can be covered by a Disability Facilities Grant, including:
- Accessing a property: including full ramps into the property, wheelchair lift and widening of external and internal doors.
- Help with stairs: including fitting stairlifts and wheelchair lifts, as well as allowing for turn-circles for wheelchairs.
- Improving personal hygiene: including installing full wet rooms, wheelchair accessible sinks and toilets and widening bathrooms.
- Preparing a meal: including lowering kitchen worktops and making kitchen facilities accessible.
- Transferring from beds and furniture: including installing ceiling hoists.
- Improving access to heating and lighting: including installing alternative controls to make them easier to use, as well as installing new systems to make them suitable for your needs.
Getting help from your local Home Improvement Agency
Home Improvement Agencies (HIA) are organisations run by local authorities, housing associations and charities. They are not-for-profit organisations that help elderly, disabled or vulnerable people to live a good life longer.
Your local HIA can provide support and assistance with your Disability Facilities Grant application. They can assist you with:
- Obtaining quotes for any work that is recommended.
- Accessing and drawing up plans for the work.
- Helping you to understand the level of grant you may be eligible for.
How CFG Law can help with your ongoing needs and adaptations to your home
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious, life-changing injury, you need to know you’re not alone and you can get the support you need.
Not only can CFG Law help to provide you with legal advice, but we also pull together with you and your family to provide you with financial, physical and emotional support to ultimately help you to achieve your best outcome and lead a fulfilled life.
As part of our support service, we provide an emergency fund for eligible clients that can be used to help fund any adaptations you need to your home, as well help to pay for care, travel expenses for hospital visits, rehabilitation, counselling, purchasing specialist aids and equipment and help with other immediate care and support needs.
We have Client Support Managers (highly experienced Occupational Therapists and Physiotherapists) who can also help to advise on any adaptations you may need and provide recommendations on how you can improve your function and independence.