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  • Call for solutions to support socially distanced assessments

Call for solutions to support socially distanced assessments

9th June 2020

West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) Industry Gateway is looking for technologies or processes to allow Community Occupational Therapists to assess residents/their homes for disability adaptations or specialist equipment  with less physical contact.

What is the Challenge?

In Worcestershire, Community Occupational Therapists (OTs) from our Health and Care Trust work in cooperation with the local council to assess and implement adaptions residents may need to their homes to support short or long term functional issues  with activities of living they may have. They also assess for specialised equipment that may be needed to support independent living.

This process typically starts from a visit to the home by the OTs who will measure the home and use their healthcare expertise to assess the sorts of alterations which may be needed. This could be anything from a stairlift, to full sized wheelchair lifts or from a raised toilet seat to creation of ground floor wet rooms.

Once the OTs have completed the assessment, and decided what’s needed, a pathway of co-development with the council will then proceed with a number of consultations with architects and building firms. The council will usually make the application to access the disabilities grant required to complete the work (which will take a long time), before the equipment can be fitted.

There will be multiple follow-up physical visits to the property to confirm the adaptations and design with the resident and other stakeholders, with the council managing the building work and OTs providing the medical expertise and final sign-off with the resident.

During covid, this service was temporarily stepped down and is being re-established, with a corresponding large waiting list the service will need to work through.

The service believes this re-establishment period is a good opportunity to look for innovations or processes other areas have used to make this service more efficient.

In particular they are looking to:

  • Primary benefit: Due to Covid, reduce the requirement for on-site visits to the home to assess the home correctly for adaptations or equipment.
  • Secondary benefit: Increase capacity of the service and reduce waiting lists through better ways of working.

What are they looking for?

The service would like to hear from those working in this area with evidence of improving the assessment and delivery process of making disability adaptions to peoples homes within the NHS/Local Authority.

This could be from other public bodies who have developed a particularly good process for this, or from innovators who may have developed a technology (remote building designing software etc) which is being used in this sort of service and delivers the primary benefit.

To find out more and how to submit an innovation click here

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