Sonya was referred to Home Independence Services in 2017 by her Case Manager with a view to looking at suitable wheelchair accessible properties within her home locality.

Before her injury Sonya was living in a 3-bedroom council flat with limited space. This property was situated at the top of the hill and the house was at a significantly lower level to the pavement and approached by a series of steep steps. The environment was posing barriers to Sonya’s rehabilitation and she and her family needed to be rehoused to a more suitable property.

Sonya experienced a subarachnoid haemorrhage in May 2012 causing a brain injury, including right sided hemiplegia, limited mobility and substantial communication difficulties. Sonya had been diagnosed with significant dyspraxia and dysphasia. Sonya reported ongoing pain in her right upper and lower limbs, and this is controlled by pain relief.

One of our Occupational Therapists visited Sonya in her existing property to ascertain the limitations and to make recommendations for a more suitable property considering Sonya’s present and anticipated needs and those of her family. Sonya lives with her husband and 2 grown up children.

  • The property had very little circulation space for wheelchair manoeuvrability. It is anticipated that Sonya may be using the wheelchair more and more within future years and requires enough space to accommodate this need.
  • The only bathroom and WC in the property has been adapted for Sonya’s use. This did not consider the rest of the family’s needs.
  • Sonya had little independent access to the garden. Sonya loved gardening and tending to her pots before the injury and wanted to continue with this hobby.
  • The property had only 3 bedrooms. Sonya requires a bedroom to herself and this was not possible within the previous house hence Sonya was sleeping in the living room.
  • The kitchen was inaccessible for Sonya in a wheelchair, this was limiting her ability to engage with food preparation and cooking and maintain her independence.

Our Occupational Therapist discussed Mr and Sonya’s needs for any future property, and it was agreed that a rental property would be considered initially before they were in a financial position to purchase a property. The following needed to be considered within any new property.

  • The property needed to have a minimum of 4 bedrooms.
  • An open plan area downstairs with enough wheelchair manoeuvrability and turning circles, and an area for rehabilitation activities.
  • A kitchen that can be closed off and that is large enough to be adapted for wheelchair use.
  • A downstairs WC / cloakroom.
  • A bedroom upstairs or on ground floor level that has an en suite bathroom which is large enough to accommodate a specialist bath if required for Sonya, a closomat toilet, and a wash hand basin.
  • A garden which is on one level that Sonya could access in her wheelchair.
  • Level access at the front of the property, or the depth required at the front to accommodate a ramp.
  • A property with its own driveway offering enough space for 2 cars.
  • A property situated on a quiet, level / flat residential road such as a cul de sac which would have minimal traffic flow.

A suitable property was soon found within the same locality and our Occupational Therapist was asked to return to ensure it met Sonya’s needs. It is rare that a property is ever entirely suitable to meet a person’s needs and that is why it is important that an Occupational Therapist assesses all potential properties to look at their merits and ascertain if and how they can be adapted for long term use. This included looking at Sonya’s present needs and her anticipated future needs. It was our role to make recommendations for any equipment, minor and major adaptations that would be required. Sonya required a stairlift, minor alterations to the kitchen, a wall hung shower seat, rails at the back door and some pieces of equipment.

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