Home modifications

After your injury where you live may need to be modified so that you can not only get access into your home but are able to move about and use all the areas of your home safely and functionally. Or you may have been living in a modified environment for some time already but want to explore what is available in the way of new technologies. Home modifications can be very simple or very complex and may involve anywhere from getting a simple grab rail installed, to major structural renovations.

Modifications can include ramp installation, door widening, grab or hand rail installation, step free shower access, toilet and bathroom modifications, kitchen modifications, lift installation, environmental control and home automation.

Doing your research

Modifications need to be carefully planned so it’s a good idea not to rush but to do your research to find out what you need and how the process is going to work best for you. At Spinal Cord Injuries Australia (SCIA) we have compiled a lot of this information together for you in the SCIA Resource Library. Click on this link Home Modifications to go straight to a comprehensive list of resources. If you know someone who has had a modification why not ask them about their experiences and we are always happy to provide advice and assistance.

Where to start and who to contact?

This flowchart (see page 5 of Factsheet: Arranging Home Modifications) sets out the direction your home modification will take, depending on for example whether you rent, own your home, your age and the funding source.

Getting an assessment – the first step

If your home modifications are to be funded by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) or any other funding body you will require an assessment by an Occupational Therapist (OT). The OT will come to your home, conduct an assessment of your needs and write up a report detailing the modifications and the costs involved.

Home modifications under the NDIS – an important note

When you meet with the NDIS to discuss your plan remember to mention that you need home modifications included. This information will be added to your plan along with provision for funding for the OT assessment. Once the OT assessment is complete they will provide the report to the NDIS and the funds for the modifications will be added to your plan.

You can look for an OT on the Home Modification Information Clearing House Service Directory. Another place to find an OT is in the directory of Occupational Therapy Australia.

Funding for home modifications

If you are eligible for funding for home modifications this will be through the NDIS, state funding programs, Veterans affairs or My Aged Care.

Funding sources include:

Doing the work

It’s important that the people you get to do the work are experienced with home modifications. The Home Modification Information Clearing House has a Service Directory where you can search for home modification and maintenance services, private builders and professional tradespeople.

Doing your own home modifications

It is possible to do your own home modifications. To assist in your planning the Home Modification Information Clearing House has released a DIYmodify App that provides help with planning and doing your own home modification. The app is for anyone who has wanted to do their own modification but wasn’t sure how to start, and for those who are confident in doing it yourself but not sure what’s possible. The app is available from the App Store or Google Play.

For further information on this or any other topic please call SCIA by phone on 1800 819 775 or email info@scia.org.au.