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Housing Association rejected to replace a shower with a bath.

cjazzcjazz Member Posts: 8 Listener
I find myself and my wife (disabled) in an awkward situation.  We live in a housing association one bedroom flat which is not suitable for my wife's health issues. My wife recently undertook an occupational therapist assessment which was carried out by the housing association, which verified the need to move into a more suitable property.  We are now on the housing list for a transfer which can take years or if ever to happen.

One of the OT's recommendations was to replace the current walk in shower for a wet room instead.  My wife currently requires assistance to shower so there is no urgency or danger of her by using the current shower. 

 I have now discovered that I have osteoarthritis in my hip which causes a lot of the pain and there are occasions when I cannot move for a few days. My doctor is supporting me to have a bath installed which will be beneficial to reducing the pain in my hip.

I contacted my housing association to request if the current walk in shower could be replaced with a bath and a bath lift for my wife (at my expense) the housing association turned my request down stating that my wife cannot use a bath lift because she has limited mobility which will prevent her from using the bath lift.  I can understand this if she was trying to bath independently but she always has assistance when bathing or showering.

Needles to say I was disappointed I now have to suffer in pain because of this decision.  I contacted my local authority Social Services explaining the situation and if they could recommend a solution, they were not interested at all and said it was up to the landord (housing association) to say yes or no.  Makes you wonder what is the point of Social Services if they cannot be bothered to try to find a solution.

Rant over..Any suggestions for a solution would be very much appreciated.

Replies

  • atlas46atlas46 Community champion Posts: 827 Pioneering
    Hi cjazz

    Very pleased to meet.

    What a sorry state the housing association are putting you and your wife in.

    I thing you need to call in the troops.

    Speak to your MP's office and follow this up with a letter to him/her.

    E-mail your local Councillor and ask for a home visit to discuss your problems.

    I understand there is a house swap scheme in some areas, see a local housing charity or Shelter helpline.

    If I can think of anything will let you know.

    Keep us updated.

    Best wishes to you and your wife.

    atlas46
  • Sam_ScopeSam_Scope Member Posts: 7,732 Disability Gamechanger
    edited May 2018
    Hi @cjazz
    Im sorry to hear you're having a tough time with this, have you been back to the OT?

    @Jean_Scope do you have any thoughts?
    Scope
    Senior online community officer
  • cjazzcjazz Member Posts: 8 Listener
    The housing association organised the OT assessment and I did make a complaint directly to the OT assessment company because some of the reports were wrong i.e the assessment stated that my wife uses a wheel chair at all times when she goes out when she just uses a wheel chair for long distances. The housing association informed me not to contact the OT company involved because they organised the assessment. I have complained to the housing association but they are not interested.  
  • Jean_OTJean_OT Member Posts: 532 Pioneering

    Hi @cjazz

    Thanks to @Sam_Scope for inviting me to join this discussion.

    As cjazz said this is indeed an awkward situation.

    So currently most disabled people in the England and Wales who need home adaptations deal with the community Occupational Therapist (OT) based within their local authority. However, in recent years some local authorities have done local deals with some housing associations, whereby, the housing association takes on responsibility for dealing with the assessed needs of their disabled tenants. In some instances the deal is that the community OT will still assess those needs and make recommendations to the housing association, other arrangements involve the housing association also arranging the assessment by buying in OT services.

    In this case it sounds as if the OT assessment has been commissioned by the housing association. Hence, the OT company only wanting to deal with the housing association because the housing association is their client, not cjazz or his wife. 

    The local authority are unlikely to want to get involved because presumably they have done a deal to have the housing association that says the housing association will take responsibility for dealing with tenant issues of this sort. I would imagine that the local authority might only intervene, in some way, if there was evidence to suggest that the housing association was failing to uphold it's part of the deal.

    Obviously, I am not party to the details of any potential arrangement between the local authority and the housing association but in my experience such arrangements normally match the same criteria of adaptations as covered by the Disabled Facilities Scheme (DFG).

    DFG only covers very basic needs such as gain access to the home, moving around the home, hygiene and toileting needs, a place to eat/sleep/prepare food, control of the heating system..... and all this by the most cost effective means, assuming the adaptations are reasonable and appropriate. Note that therapeutic needs are not included normally included within DFG and pain relief could be considered a therapeutic need.   

    So to further complicate the matter it seems that what ideally is needed here is a solution that will meet the needs of two disabled people with potentially conflicting needs.

    Cjazz's wife's hygiene needs have been assessed by an OT and they have reached the conclusion that these can best be met by her having a wetroom. However, this is a low priority as her basic hygiene needs are currently being met by being assisted to use the current shower.

    Cjazz has been advised by his Consultant that having a bath may help to ease his pain. However, this is a therapeutic need, and therefore I suspect that the housing association feel they don't have any responsibility to address it. My understanding is that there currently isn't an OT report for cjazz stating that accessing a bath is vital for him so it is doubtful that the housing association will give much weight to his suggestion for how he feels both his and his wife's need could be met by a bath and bath lift. 

    If there is a suggestion that Cjazz's hygiene needs can't be safely addressed by their current shower arrangements then the housing association will need to commission an OT to report on his needs. If they assess that his needs also can't be met by the current shower arrangement it may increase the priority to have adaptations done or have the couple rehoused.

    Currently the housing association won't give permission for the couple to fit a bath/bath lift even if they fund it themselves. Presumably this refusal all hinges on the apparent contradiction between the request for a bath and the OT assessed needs of cjazz's wife. The needs of cjazz don't currently seem to be coming into the equation.  

    If cjazz and his wife really want a bath with a bath lift and the housing association won't listen. Perhaps the couple could evidence that their request is safe and reasonable better if they commissioned a private OT assessment for themselves. Assuming that this agrees with cjazz it may add weight to their argument if they decided to escalated the matter through the housing associations complaints procedure, or even on to the ombudsman.

    Best Wishes

    Jean


    Jean Merrilees BSc MRCOT

    You can read more of my posts at: https://community.scope.org.uk/categories/ask-an-occupational-therapist

  • cjazzcjazz Member Posts: 8 Listener
    Thank you so much Jean for taking the time to write your post.  There is a lot of useful information that you have provided, especially that my own medical situation isn't being addressed by the housing association.
  • Jean_OTJean_OT Member Posts: 532 Pioneering
    You are very welcome cjazz, do bear in mind that I don't know for sure what is going on in your individual circumstances. I'm just making some assumptions based on my experience of working in this field, but hopefully by having some more insight into how these situations often arise you will be able to come up with a strategy to move things forward. 

    Jean Merrilees BSc MRCOT

    You can read more of my posts at: https://community.scope.org.uk/categories/ask-an-occupational-therapist

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