Local authorities must improve the way support is given to people who require access and mobility adaptations made to their homes, a new report has said.
A study by the Centre for Ageing Better claimed that the home adaptation process is “so complex and varied that even professionals working in the area struggle to navigate it”.
The study was based on interviews carried out by Northumbria University and said that the majority of participants received information and advice from friends and family who had previous experience of home adaptations whereas those without that support struggled with the system.
It recommended that adaptation services should work with signposting agencies and health services to simplify and speed up the home adaptation processes and to ‘lay it out honestly’.
But it did say once installation of solutions was underway, there are largely few reported problems.
The report decided that this suggests that if the earlier part of the participant journey is done right, then positive outcomes can be achieved more often.
Installation was particularly successful when professionals worked together to ensure an individualised approach and the client was well-informed.
Participants benefited from contractors who communicated clearly, regularly and in a personable manner, fulfilled their agreed obligations, took on the concerns of clients and tailored adaptations to meet individuals’ needs.
The adaptation process has to be in line with an individual’s personal goals and what they want to achieve in their own home, thinking not just about functional need, but emotional and social needs as well, the report said.
It said that grab rails tend to be offered for one point of entry or exit to the home, and practically, this is usually at the front entrance to meet the functional need of leaving the home, with little thought to the individual needs of the person living in the home.
Participants who had good experiences with contractors and traders valued those who provided information, were personable and kept them informed about the work.
It concluded that it is “essential” that professionals working to access and install adaptations do so with the individual’s functional and emotional needs in mind.