Simple Steps to Ease Pressures in Delivery of Home Adaptations

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Anyone involved in delivery of home adaptations knows too well how beset with pressure their work life is. 

The backlog of assessments amplified by Covid, the whole adaptations/Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) process, minimising hospital admissions and accelerating hospital discharge are just some of the contributory factors.

what are we trying to achieve?

Part of the problem lies in that, with the morass of boxes to tick in terms of paperwork, we sometimes forget the underlying ethos of DFG.

It is to make life better for the person, to enable them to live as independently as possible in their home environment for as long as reasonably practicable. 

It is PERSON centred. That includes the impact of any adaptation on the rest of the household.


There is a ground swell of new options that can alleviate the pressure. The opportunity now exists requiring a combined team approach, where everyone within the Better Care Fund administrative structure- especially the Local Authority, NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups- can make a conscious review of the way they work.

key tools

Key tools to utilise are:

  • revised DFG Guidance
  • Foundations Triage Tool
  • manufacturers 

DFG Guidance:

The Guidance(1)  has simplified the adaptations process in that it breaks it down into four elements under which a Grant can be given. It optimises discretionary powers (Regulatory Reform Orders aka RROs). It provides guidance on how to prioritise delivery.

To give an example, a parent is struggling to carry their growing disabled child up the stairs. The child cannot walk upstairs unaided.

The issue has a substantial effect on their daily life: adaptation is necessary, appropriate, reasonable and practicable. Under section B68 of the Guidance, the urgent works i.e to reduce the significant risk to parent and child should be addressed first to avoid delay.

Foundations Triage Tool

The Tool takes what is widely practised in A&E departments and applies it to adaptations.

It breaks the initial client contact down into four key questions, with a “traffic light” system as to whether any third party assessment is needed.

It is worth remembering that although the client may need an OT or similar assessment because the need is complex, the solution may not be! 

To reiterate our example of the parent struggling to carry their growing disabled child up the stairs, the child cannot walk upstairs unaided therefore a carer is needed. Under the Triage Tool an OT/Trusted Assessor is required. 

Yet the solution could be as simple as provision of a stairclimber- something that may well be available in equipment stores, that does not require a surveyor to assess the physical fabric of the home as there are no building works/ structural fixings, alterations, something that is comparatively low cost if purchase is required so could be done under an RRO.

Mum transfers her daughter down steps with a stairclimber


It is increasingly accepted that manufacturers can play a vital role in accelerating delivery of adaptations. Indeed, many Local Authorities are as a matter of course now involving manufacturers in the assessment process whether via a formal tender agreement or more informal called in as required…

It makes sense to do so.

Manufacturers are experts in their particular area and can support and advise the OT in the daily living practicalities of the client and their home environment, clinical assessment and Grant application process.

AAT stairclimbers

The S-Max is certified to help you overcome the barrier of steps and stairs
The S-Max is Class 1 Medical device classified, proven to help you overcome injury or handicap at home

Stairclimbers(2) are mobile units that safely transfer the client up and down stairs. 

They provide a swiftly available, low cost alternative to the accepted inter-floor transfer methods (stairlift, through-floor lift) as they can be delivered within days with no need to install or undertake any structural alteration. If nothing else, they can provide an expedient short-term solution to minimise risk but are often chosen by clients as a permanent solution(3).

They have an unrivalled safety record. They minimise risk in the potentially dangerous process of getting up and down stairs. They minimise transfers. They require no installation or physical alteration to the home. They do not impede other members of the household’s use of the home. They eliminate the need to re-arrange the home, moving beds downstairs etc. Should the client move house, the stairclimber can easily be transferred alongside. They enable the client to go beyond their home, into the garden or down front steps into their community. They can be re-issued to other clients when no longer needed by the initial recipient.

At AAT we will- free of charge and obligation- assess the client either alongside or in place of the OT (within 10 working days of contact), prepare a detailed report including photographs for the OT to integrate into the submission to the grants officer, supply the stairclimber to the client, set it up to their precise needs, and train the caregiver in its use. We can revisit to adjust over the years as the client’s needs change. We can service the machine on an annual basis.

We are already successfully providing this service throughout the UK mainland with individual within RROs

Click the link to book your free, no obligation assessment now:


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