Southwark Council adopts virtual approach to prescribing stairclimbers


The occupational therapy team at Southwark Council is using virtual technology to enable them to provide training on the practicalities and technicalities of stairclimbers as a realistic intervention. 

Organised in collaboration with stairclimber provider AAT, the virtual meeting has enabled the authority’s Children & Adult Services department to explore a range of devices and consider how these can be accessorised, in order to gain insight into the practical considerations in prescribing a stairclimber.

“If someone has impaired mobility, the perception on the whole is that they need a fairly major adaptation to their home to enable them to get up and down stairs,” said Gareth Brown, AAT Technical Director.

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“With COVID impacting so much on the practicality of occupational therapy teams across the country to undertake home assessments and expediate adaptations, there is growing need for alternative strategies that are realistic, practical interventions.”

He added: “Virtual conferencing is becoming an accepted methodology for meetings, home assessments and CPD sessions. It made logical sense to Southwark and us to extend its application for technical training, in situations where the healthcare professionals need to actually see how the function and scope of a device can be appropriate, and how it integrates with the PEOP model for a positive outcome. “

Clare Weale, clinical lead occupational therapist at Southwark Council, said: “We need to have practical sessions to develop a technical framework as to what is feasible and therefore realistic as an intervention.

“With current working practices because of COVID, a virtual session was the closest we could come. Adoption of such new practice is essential for our team to continue to build on our professional skills, and deliver outcomes to improve people’s wellbeing, where stairs or steps present as environmental barriers to participation in daily living.”

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Sarah Clarke

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