Providing Equipment

This procedure should be used by any Occupational Therapy practitioner who is arranging equipment or minor works under either:

  1. The duty to prevent, reduce or delay needs under the Care Act; or
  2. The duty to meet eligible needs under the Care Act.

This procedures should not be used by anyone who is arranging a major adaptation to meet needs under the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 (HGCRA).

If the need for independent advocacy has not already been established at assessment and you feel that the person may lack capacity or have substantial difficulty being involved in exploring and deciding which equipment and minor works are required then you must consider whether the duty to make independent advocacy applies and, if so make the necessary arrangements.

See: Using Independent Advocacy, which includes guidance on how to establish whether a person needs an advocate, the different advocates that are available and how to make a referral.

As part of the assessment process you should have talked broadly about the equipment and minor works that may be suitable and available. You must now build on this conversation to determine specifically which equipment or minor works are required.

Need to Know

It is your responsibility to familiarise yourself with local guidance about the equipment and minor works that can be provided.

The following people must be involved in any decision about what is required:

  1. The person (or their representative if they lacks capacity);
  2. Any carer;
  3. Anyone that the person asks you to involve;
  4. Anyone else that you feel needs to be involved with the person's consent; and
  5. When the person lacks capacity, anyone that you feel it is in their best interests to involve.

When exploring options you should:

  1. Explore all available options and not limit yourself to 'standard' or most frequently used options;
  2. Specifically explore any options requested by the person or carer; and
  3. Take opportunities to provide good information and advice about ways to prevent, reduce or delay needs.

Factors that should be taken into account when weighing up available options include:

  1. Whether the option is appropriate to meet (or prevent, reduce or delay) the need;
  2. Whether the option is proportionate to meet (or prevent, reduce or delay) the need (or could the need be met in a less restrictive or intensive way);
  3. The impact of the option on risk (to the person and carer(s));
  4. The impact of the option on the person's independence;
  5. Whether the options will support the person to meet any outcomes (either outcomes identified at assessment or outcomes identified in any existing Care and Support Plan).

A simple pros and cons list can be an effective way to explore and weigh up available options.

Depending on the level of risk a formal risk assessment may need to be carried out. See: Risk Assessment.

It is the responsibility of the Local Authority to decide the best way to meet a person's eligible needs (or the best way to prevent, reduce or delay needs). As such this is your responsibility as you are the local authority's representative.

Any decision that you make must have regard to:

  1. The views of the person about the equipment or minor works required;
  2. The views of any carer; and
  3. The impact of the decision on the person's Wellbeing.

Other factors that you should consider before making a decision are:

  1. Whether the person's involvement in the decision has been maximised;
  2. Whether the full range of available options been explored;
  3. Whether there are any alternative options that could meet the need;
  4. Whether any risks associated with the preferred option have been identified and mitigated (for example through a period of direct support);
  5. Whether the preferred option represents a good use of Local Authority financial resources (or is there an alternative more affordable option that will meet the need as well as the preferred option); and
  6. Whether the preferred option is likely to be sustainable (taking into account anticipated changes in the person's needs or circumstances over time).
Need to Know

It is important that decisions about how to meet needs (or prevent, reduce or delay needs) are made in a consistent and transparent way. Decision making should not allow for variance in how decisions are made for people with similar needs in similar circumstances.

Need to Know

Remember that if the person lives in a care home you must not proceed to arrange any equipment or minor works unless you are satisfied that the care home does not have a legal responsibility to provide the equipment or works as part of its requirement to be 'fit for purpose'.

When a decision has been made about the preferred option to meet the need (or prevent, reduce or delay the need) you must make a proportionate record of:

  1. The decision;
  2. The rationale for the decision (why the preferred option is deemed to be the most appropriate and proportionate provision); and
  3. What alternative options have been explored (and why they were not suitable).

Sometimes the person (or their representative) will not agree with the decision that you have made about the equipment or minor works required.

In this situation you should be open to reviewing the available evidence and your rationale to ensure that the decision is robust. You should be open and transparent about the evidence sources you have used and take steps to try and:

  1. Support the person to understand the decision you have made; and
  2. Understand the benefits of the equipment or minor works proposed.

If the person is still not happy with the decision you should seek the support of your line manager as required to decide:

  1. Whether to proceed to make the arrangements as proposed; or
  2. Whether to alter the arrangements in line with the person's views about the most appropriate equipment or minor works.

Where a decision is made to proceed to arrange equipment or minor works as planned you should consider providing direct support as a mechanism to ensure safe and effective use of equipment or minor works. Direct support includes:

  1. Training of informal and paid carers in the safe and proper use of equipment; and
  2. Supporting the person to safely and confidently use equipment or adapt to their environment after an adaptation.

See: Providing Direct Support.

You must also make the person aware of their right to complain about the decision that has been made.

If the proposed equipment is over £1000 you will need to confirm:

  1. Local policy about charging for equipment over £1000; and
  2. If the policy is to charge, request a financial assessment; and
  3. Whether you are authorised to agree the provision of equipment over £1000; and
  4. If not, make arrangements for this to be agreed and authorised.

If you do not have the authority to proceed to arrange the required equipment or minor works you should:

  1. Explain this to the person (or their representative); and
  2. Seek agreement and authorisation.

You must provide the authoriser with all of the information available about:

  1. The person's eligible needs (or the needs that are to be prevented, reduced or delayed);
  2. The options that have been explored;
  3. The rational for the preferred option (including why other options were not suitable).

Providing further information

If further information is required by the authoriser you should:

  1. Provide this where it is available; or
  2. Gather this where it is not available (for example through consultation with the person or carer).

If equipment or minor works are not agreed

If the equipment or minor works are not agreed you will be notified of the reason for this. If you do not understand the reason you should seek clarity.

You will need to decide the most appropriate next steps based on the situation, which could include:

  1. Providing additional information as appropriate;
  2. Exploring alternative equipment or minor works with the person.

The practitioner requesting agreement and authorisation must provide you with information about:

  1. The person's eligible needs (or the needs that are to be prevented, reduced or delayed);
  2. The options that have been explored;
  3. The rational for the preferred option (including why other options were not suitable).

From the available information you must be satisfied that:

  1. A proportionate assessment of need has been carried out;
  2. A determination of eligibility has been made (where equipment or minor works are to be provided under the duty to meet eligible needs);
  3. The person's involvement in the decision has been maximised;
  4. The practitioner has given regard for the person's views, any carers views and the impact on the person's Wellbeing;
  5. The full range of available options been explored;
  6. There are no alternative options that could meet the need;
  7. If the person lives in a care home, the care home do not have a legal responsibility to provide the equipment or works;
  8. Any risks associated with the preferred option have been identified and mitigated (for example through a period of direct support);
  9. The preferred option represents a good use of Local Authority financial resources (and there is no alternative more affordable option that will meet the need as well as the preferred option); and
  10. The preferred option is likely to be sustainable (taking into account anticipated changes in the person's needs or circumstances over time).
Need to Know

It is important that decisions about how to meet needs (or prevent, reduce or delay needs) are made in a timely, consistent and transparent way. Decision making should not allow for variance in how decisions are made for people with similar needs in similar circumstances.

If further information is required

If you require further information before agreeing and authorising the equipment or minor works you should request this from the practitioner that carried out the assessment.

If you do not agree equipment or minor works

You should not agree or authorise the equipment or minor works if you find that, having taken into account all available information:

  1. The equipment or works are not appropriate and proportionate to prevent, reduce or delay needs (when the duty to prevent, reduce or delay needs applies); or
  2. The equipment or works are not appropriate or proportionate to meet the eligible needs of the person (when the duty to meet eligible needs applies); or
  3. The equipment or works proposed do not make best use of available local or financial resources.

If you are unable to agree equipment or minor works you must provide the practitioner with information about:

  1. Why you have not been able to agree the equipment or works; and
  2. The steps that the practitioner may take to resolve any issues identified.

Any subsequent requests to agree and authorise equipment or minor works must be considered again.

Sometimes a person will decide, following an assessment that they want to make their own arrangements to obtain equipment or carry out minor works. You must be satisfied that the person (or their representative) understands that:

  1. They are under no obligation to do so; and
  2. The Local Authority must provide equipment free of charge up to £1000.

Whether or not the person will want to make their own arrangements will likely depend on a range of factors, and could include:

  1. Whether or not the Local Authority is willing or able to provide their preferred equipment;
  2. The availability of equipment providers or contractors locally;
  3. The financial implications of services for the person;
  4. The complexity of their need, including any fluctuation in need and the need for multiple Care and Support services;
  5. The person's ability to make and sustain arrangements; and
  6. The level of on-going support likely to review and monitor the person's needs or situation.

If the person intends to make their own arrangements you must:

  1. Provide them with the information and advice they request (or you feel would be beneficial) about available appropriate equipment and local services/suppliers to meet their needs;
  2. Provide them with information and advice about ways they can prevent, reduce or delay needs;
  3. Provide them with any other information that they request or that you feel will be beneficial;
  4. Consider the support the person may need to explore and make their own arrangements and whether the advocacy duty applies;
  5. Explain to them what to do if they change their mind about making their own arrangements;
  6. Explain to them what they should do if their needs change; and
  7. Carry out, or arrange to be carried out any processes to support carers.

All of the above information should be confirmed in writing.

You should also consider monitoring as the duty to meet eligible needs is not discharged until alternative arrangements are in place and there may be a need to provide interim equipment, or provide direct support to ensure safe use of the equipment when it is in place.

You can close the case when:

  1. The equipment is in place and being used as intended to meet eligible needs (or prevent, delay or reduce needs);
  2. There is no need to provide direct support or monitoring;
  3. There are no outstanding actions for the Occupational Therapy service.

You should refer to available local guidance to confirm which works and equipment can be provided through the minor works scheme.

See: Community Equipment and Minor Adaptations.

Need to Know

Remember that if the person lives in a care home you must not proceed to arrange any equipment or minor works unless you are satisfied that the care home does not have a legal responsibility to provide the equipment or works as part of its requirement to be 'fit for purpose'.

Standard equipment refers to any equipment that is available direct from Local Authority equipment stores. The availability of standard stock items is monitored by equipment stores, who replenish stock as and when required.

Standard equipment items can change from time to time and you must familiarise yourself with the items that are currently available from standard stock before proceeding to make arrangements.

Arrangements should be made in line with local processes and requirements.

Non-standard equipment refers to any equipment that can be ordered through Local Authority equipment stores but is not part of the standard stock normally carried. The availability of non-standard stock items is not monitored by equipment stores, and items are ordered as and when requested.

Arrangements should be made in line with local processes and requirements.

Specialist equipment refers to any equipment that is not available through Local Authority equipment stores as standard or non-standard stock.

Specialist equipment must be ordered directly from the manufacturer in line with local processes and requirements.

You must take steps as required to provide additional information upon ordering if:

  1. There are specific order requirements;
  2. There is a sense of urgency; or
  3. You require notification when the equipment is delivered.

Specific order requirements could include:

  1. The location in the person's home where equipment needs to be placed;
  2. The height that equipment should be set at (to ensure safe and effective use);
  3. The size required (when the equipment is available in a range of size options).

You should make a proportionate record of:

  1. The equipment that has been ordered and when it was ordered;
  2. The proposed delivery date (if known);
  3. Agreed arrangements for delivery made with equipment stores;
  4. Steps taken to ensure proper and safe use of equipment after delivery.

It is the responsibility of equipment stores to:

  1. Liaise with the person (or their representative) to agree suitable arrangements to deliver equipment; and
  2. Notify you of any problems, issues or delays.

Equipment stores stock can also be provided on a short term basis, for example:

  1. To facilitate discharge from hospital where the person is expected to recover;
  2. During a period of illness or following an injury;
  3. During a period of reablement;
  4. As a way of 'testing out' how best to meet long term need when this was unclear;
  5. As an urgent interim measure.

Equipment to be provided on a short term basis should be arranged in the same way as equipment that is to be provided longer term. However, you must:

  1. Record the date that the short term equipment loan is going to end (when this is known); and
  2. Agree appropriate monitoring arrangements to regularly review the need for the equipment.

You can consider closing the case when:

  1. The equipment is in place and being used as intended to meet eligible needs (or prevent, delay or reduce needs);
  2. There is no need to provide direct support or monitoring;
  3. There are no outstanding actions for the Occupational Therapy service.

Before closing the case you must provide the person (or their representative if they lack capacity) with the following in writing:

  1. Information and advice about maintaining and repairing equipment;
  2. Any other information and advice requested, or that you feel would be beneficial;
  3. What they should do if their needs change;
  4. What to do if the equipment no longer appears to be meeting their needs; and
  5. What they should do if they (or a carer) requires further direct support in the future to use the equipment safely.

If the provision of equipment is delayed you must consider whether:

  1. There is appropriate support in place to meet the person's eligible needs (where the equipment is being provided to meet eligible needs); and
  2. If not, the steps that need to be taken to ensure any urgent needs are met.

If a practitioner from an appropriate service is already involved with the person you should:

  1. Inform them that the equipment has been delayed and that the person appears to have unmet urgent needs;
  2. Advise them of a possible timeframe for the equipment to be provided; and
  3. Provide them with access to any information gathered through assessment so they can prioritise and consider the most appropriate course of action.

If the person is not known to an appropriate service you will need to make the relevant referral.

Equipment or works should be recorded on a Care and Support Plan when:

  1. They are being provided under the duty to meet eligible needs; and
  2. The person already has an existing Care and Support Plan.

You should provide the following information to the team with statutory responsibility for reviewing and maintaining the Care and Support Plan:

  1. The equipment and works that have been provided under the duty to meet eligible needs;
  2. The date that the equipment or works was provided; and
  3. The cost of any equipment over £1000 (where the local policy is to charge a person for equipment costing more than £1000).

You should make a proportionate record of the information provided and the name of the practitioner it was provided to.

It is the role of the team with a statutory responsibility to review and maintain the Care and Support Plan to amend the plan so that it includes the equipment that the Local Authority has provided to meet eligible needs.

Last Updated: May 17, 2022

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