Aids and adaptations

‘Aids and adaptations’ is our term for upgrades we can make to your home to make life easier and help you to live there independently for longer.

From simple aids such as handrails, to bigger jobs such as installing level wet rooms there's lots on offer.

If you or a family member are a Karbon Homes tenant and are having difficulty doing everyday tasks such as climbing the stairs or having a bath, then we may be able to help you live more comfortably, safely and independently by adapting your home.

If you want to find out more, please contact us.

More information is also included in our Accessible Homes for Older Residents leaflet.

Frequently asked questions

What is an adaptation?

An adaptation is a special fixture or fitting that is designed to help you with your day-to-day living, improve your mobility in and around your home and improve access to your home.

How do I apply for an adaptation?

You, your family, a carer or social care/health professional, or just someone you rely on can apply for an adaptation by contacting us.

What are minor adaptations?

Minor adaptations include grab rails, banister rails and lever taps, as well as the fitting of key safes. Usually these types of minor adaptations can be quickly arranged and installed.

What are major adaptations?

Major adaptations are larger changes to your home. These could include wheelchair ramps, wet rooms and stair lifts. We have limited funding for this type of adaptation, although residents can seek independent funding through a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). When funding is available these works are carried out in the order that we receive them.

Major adaptations – and occasionally minor adaptations – are subject to a full assessment by an occupational therapist who works with your Local Authority.

What about specialist aids?

There is now a wide variety of mobility and living aids available that are all designed to support independent living. These types of aids can assist with the following daily tasks:

  • Mobility, walking and getting around
  • Eating and drinking
  • Cooking and preparing food
  • Dressing and grooming
  • Bathing, showering and going to the toilet
  • Hobbies and activities.

Some care trusts provide equipment to help with health and social needs through their Community Equipment Service. The equipment provided is loaned and should be returned when it is no longer required. There is normally no charge for this service.

You can also buy your own equipment, but a social worker or occupational therapist can help you make decisions about the equipment that would be most helpful. You will need to contact your local authorities adult social care section for further information.

Karbon Homes will occasionally pilot schemes that provide small aids where funding is available.

Can I get an alarm?

If you need the reassurance of being able to call help in an emergency, we can help by providing an alarm and pendant.

The alarm operates through your phone line. Operators will answer your call 24/7 and provide help, such as calling an ambulance or contacting your family or our mobile response alarms officer. You can also get Telecare with 24-hour mobile response.

To find out more about alarms, visit our alarms and safety aids page.

What is an occupational therapist?

Occupational therapists are qualified healthcare professionals who are experts in assessing your needs. They help people with mental, physical or social disabilities to independently carry out everyday tasks or occupations.

Occupational therapists work with children and adults of all ages whose difficulties may have been present since birth, or the result of an accident, illness, aging or lifestyles.

Occupational therapists – often referred to as OTs – can make adaptations suggestions to Karbon Homes to help make your life easier in your home.

What will happen during the occupational therapy assessment?

The occupational therapist will visit you at your home where they will assess and discuss with you your specific needs. This involves going through some questions to get a full history of your health which will allow the occupational therapist to focus on the main issues which are affecting your health and work.

The occupational therapist will consider your immediate needs as well as your potential needs in the future. Based on this assessment, the occupational therapist may recommend a suitable course of action.

What happens if my home is not suitable for an adaptation?

In some cases, the adaptation you require may prove unsuitable for the type of property you live in. The size, construction, or location of your property could make the installation of aids and adaptations difficult. If a lot of adaptations are required for your home, you could be better served by moving into a different property.

The occupational therapist will work with you and our housing team to look at every possible option available to you so we can help meet your long-term needs.

 

Are adaptations carried out during planned works?

If your property is subject to improvements via our planned works programme and where funding is available, we can potentially provide an adaptation once we’ve received an occupational therapist’s referral.

Your planned works customer liaison officer will be able to discuss this with you before your planned works commence.

Do I need permission to carry out adaptation works?

Any work undertaken is always subject to Karbon Homes' written authorisation. A resident must not modify their property or arrange a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) without written permission from Karbon Homes.

Where necessary, all appropriate planning permission and building regulations must be obtained and a copy provided to Karbon Homes.

Can you recycle adaptations?

If you have a fitted stair lift or ramp that you no longer require, please get in touch with us. We may be able to remove and recycle these adaptations.

Can you help with mobility scooters?

Unfortunately, we are usually unable to provide adaptations that assist mobility scooters such as ramps, paths or sheds. However, we’ll look into every request for mobility scooter adaptations on a case-by-case basis.

The storage and charging of mobility scooters is usually our resident’s responsibility, but for health and safety reasons we recommend storing them outside of the house, preferably in a shed with a power supply.

We may be able to help with the installation of an external electric socket where funding is available.

What about Leaseholders?

If you live in a Karbon leasehold or shared ownership home, applications for adaptations follow the same procedure as our rented properties.

Leaseholders will however be asked to pay for the adaptation, in line with the terms of the lease.

If you are unsure of your lease, please speak with your leasehold officer.

Do you claim the VAT back on adaptations?

Where Karbon Homes fund adaptations in our homes, our suppliers are able, where an adaptation meets certain criteria, to claim 5% or zero-rated VAT. In order to comply with the HMRC regulations, we may request that you sign a declaration form confirming that you are chronically sick or living with disabilities.

If you’re disabled you’ll generally have to pay VAT on the things you buy. However, VAT relief is available on a limited range of goods and services for disabled people. For further information please contact HMRC.

 

Local Authority adult social care contact numbers

Local Authority Telephone number
Carlisle 01228 221 590
Darlington 01325 346 200
Durham 03000 267 979
Gateshead 0191 433 7033
Newcastle City 0191 2788 377
North Tyneside 0191 643 2777
Northumberland 01670 536400
South Tyneside 0191 424 6000
Stockton 01642 527 764
Sunderland 0191 520 5552

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