Choosing equipment and available help

If you find that you are having difficulty with everyday tasks such as washing, dressing and cooking, and or with moving round your home, there may be specialist equipment available which will allow you to do these things safely and independently.

And if you are the carer for someone with physical health problems then having the right equipment in place can make your work both easier and safer.

Choosing and buying equipment

Local pharmacies or GPs often have advice and brochures to help you choose home equipment.

The following are just some of the many services you can visit for more information, ideas and prices for equipment to help you at home:

Getting home equipment for free

Depending on your situation you may be offered the chance to see a specially trained professional such as a physiotherapist or an occupational therapist following a spell in hospital, or after you see a GP, district nurse, or social worker. Following an assessment you may be offered equipment which will help you to do things more safely or independently in your home.

You can also contact your local Social Services yourself for a care assessment to see if you are eligible for support from the council to install home equipment. A trained professional will assess you to find out if there is equipment that could help you, and may also see if there are other ways to help you to regain your independence. You will then be given a prescription for the equipment to take to an accredited retailer of your choice. This means you will get your equipment free of charge.

You may also pay extra (a top-up) towards a version of the equipment that is more to your taste; for example, you may choose a different model, or a different colour, which you like better.

Your local authority will be able to give you more information about this at your care assessment. More information on access to home equipment.

Integrated Community Equipment Services - ICES

ICES is a partnership between Sutton Council and Sutton and Merton NHS Primary Care Trust, to provide community equipment to eligible people who are permanent residents in the London Borough of Sutton, or for people who are caring for a Sutton resident in need of support. If you are referred to this service you will already have had an assessment of your mobility by a professional.

It aims to provide, through an authorised ICES professional, easy access to equipment, adaptation services and timely advice and information about equipment and adaptations to help with improving and supporting your independence, mobility, personal care, or end of life care.

Examples of equipment loaned might be a hoist, a walking frame, or raised toilet seat. Minor adaptations such as grab rails and stair rails. In the first instance tenants need to approach their landlords following an assessment. If you have been assessed as eligible for a service, equipment is loaned free of charge. You will be given details of how to use this service as part of your assessment.

Depending on your situation you may find that you want to make significant changes to the layout of your home to make it more suitable for you instead of simply installing small pieces of equipment - go to our page on major adaptations in your home for more information.

You may also find it useful to check our pages on help with walking and mobility and gadgets to help you stay safe.

Other information and advice

Age UK suggests 10 types of equipment to make life easier and a fact sheet called disability equipment and how to get it.

NHS Choices provides advice on equipment and alarms for carers.

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