What are home modifications?
Home modifications are changes to the structure, layout or fittings in order to make performing tasks easier. It aims to enhance mobility, safety and access, reduce accidents, and support independent living.
Common home modifications include:
- Removal of hazards (ie clutter, throw rugs, floor mats)
- Relocation of power points or light switches to improve access
- Grab rails to showers, toilets or home entries
- Prescription and design of landings, platform steps and access ramps according to Australian standards
- Bathroom modifications such as roll-in showers and other access measures
- Modifications to the kitchen to improve access
- Widening of doorways and automatic doors
- Installation of a ceiling hoist to assist person transfers
- Stair lifts
- Environmental control systems
Our Occupational Therapists have completed many major/complex home modifications which have included the removal of walls in the bathroom/toilet to increase circulation space and removal of baths to create a level access shower with appropriate drainage and floor gradient; widening of internal and external doors; modifying external access to provide improved access within the confines of existing structures, and considering the most logical and suitable access point to the home.
We have also redesigned many wheelchair accessible kitchens, bathrooms and toilets following the demolition of existing spaces, to provide safe and accessible environments. And, having worked with a number of quadriplegic clients, we have prescribed automated door openers and Environmental Control Units (ECUs) that can be operated via a wheelchair switch or sophisticated eye gaze and scanning technology.
For more than 20 years, we have successfully completed home modifications to the required Australian standards for a wide variety of clients and funding bodies including the Motor Accident Commission, Transport Accident Commission, Allianz, Return to Work SA, Public and Private Trustee, Disability SA, Lifetime Support Authority, Territory Insurance Office, Julia Farr Housing, Housing SA, Department of Veterans’ Affairs, private clients and NDIS participants.
Some further information about Home modifications
Your NDIS plan
Home modifications may be included in your NDIS plan if:
- due to the impact of your disability, you or your carers cannot reasonably access and use frequently used rooms and spaces in your primary residence;
- your primary residence, in its current condition, has significant and adverse impacts on the sustainability of current living and care arrangements; and
- a suitably qualified Occupational Therapist has performed an assessment and recommended home modifications, considering all possible alternatives, including the use of equipment.
The NDIS funds a diverse range of home modifications to assist participants to achieve the goals in their plan. Home modifications vary for each participant, and are classified according to level of risk, extent of construction (non- structural or structural), cost and complexity.
There are three broad categories of NDIS home modifications and these are listed below:
Simple home adaptions
Minor home modifications
Complex home modifications
Who is qualified to assess for and prescribe complex home modifications?
The NDIA released guidance on the characteristics that an assessor of CHM supports should demonstrate:
- Professional qualifications and meet the registration requirements as an Occupational Therapist.
- A good understanding of the scope and purpose of the NDIS, particularly as it relates to the goals and use of
supports in a participant’s plan to help them to lead an ordinary life.
- At least one of:
Professional Credential: Associate Member or above of the Association of Consultants in Access Australia (ACAA)
Successful completion of Nationally Recognised Training modules CPPACC4020A and CPPACC5016A
Employment at Senior Clinician level specifically responsible for CHM assessment
NDIS registered providers who successfully completed NDIA-authorised training in, and were selected through an Expression of Interest process for, CHM assessment during the trial phase of the NDIS prior to 30 June 2016.
At Living to the Max Occupational Therapy, we have extensive experience in the assessment for and prescription of complex home modifications. As a result, we were one of a very small number of providers nationally, who were registered on the inaugural NDIS national provider panel authorised by the NDIA to prescribe complex home modifications. This could only been achieved through extensive experience, demonstrated through the submission of de-identified case studies of prior work.
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