This Disability Equipment page within Burning Nights CRPS Support is to give you some suggestions for various disability and accessibility aids & equipment available to help you not only with your mobility but around the house as well as outside.
There are various pieces of equipment in separate sections showing where you would use them. We have also included a couple of places where you can buy each item from.
If you have any suggestions for different equipment that you use around the house and for mobility purposes and it’s not on this page, please drop us an email, fill in the Contact Form or give us a call on 01663 795055 and we will look into it and add it on the page – Thank you!
DISABLED FACILITIES GRANTS
If you are wanting to make any vital changes at home, you can apply for a grant from your local council if you’re disabled. The Disabled Facilities Grants help towards the costs of making changes to your home so you can continue to live there. For example you may need to:
- widen doors
- install ramps
- improve access to rooms and facilities – eg. stair lifts or a downstairs bathroom
The amount you can claim up to depends on which are of the UK you live. It is a means tested grant, so it will all depend on your household income and household savings over £6,000. The claimable amounts are:
- ENGLAND – Up to £30,000
- SCOTLAND – The Disabled Facilities Grants are not available in Scotland. However they do have guidance on the provision of Equipment and Adaptions.
- WALES – Up to £36,000
- NORTHERN IRELAND – Up to £25,000
For the full details of how to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant, please visit the GOV website to gain all the necessary information and then get an application form from the housing or environment health department of your local council. The council will normally need 2 written estimates for the work that you are wanting the get the grant for. They may be able to give you a list of builders or advise you about employing one.
GETTING YOUR MOBILITY AID
If you’ve decided to buy disability equipment privately, maybe you need it quickly, you want greater choice, or you’re spending your own personal care budget. Here is some information on how and where to shop around for the most suitable product at the cheapest price.
An occupational therapist or physiotherapist can best advise you on whether a particular piece of disability equipment or adaptation is likely to meet your needs.
You can ask for an assessment by an occupational therapist or physiotherapist at:
- your hospital
- the social services department of your local authority
- an Independent Living Centre
UNDERSTAND & KNOW YOUR OWN DISABILITY NEEDS
It’s a good idea to spend some time deciding what you want from the disability product you’re buying. You may find it helpful to just jot down a checklist of your requirements. This is where your health and social care assessment comes into play to help establish your specific needs. This could include an assessment by an occupational therapist to instruct on the various types of equipment you need.
Alongside your personal needs, you might want to consider some of the following:
- Does the company you are buying from offer an ‘after-sales service’?
- Does the product come with a guarantee? If so how long?
- Can you get hold of spare parts easily and cheaply?
- Does it need to be serviced regularly? Who will you use to do the work and how much will it cost?
- Does it comply with the necessary British Standards? If it’s been tested and approved it will have the BSI (British Standards Institute) Kitemark.
- What is the company’s returns policy? Do they offer a buy-back guarantee if your needs change?
If you have financial worries concerning any mobility or disability equipment or you are struggling at home with your mobility, please contact your GP, physio or Occupational Therapist (OT) to assess your needs. You can also have a look at NHS Wheelchair Services (England), you can borrow independent living aids on a short term bases from the Red Cross and the independent wheelchair voucher system.
INDEPENDENT WHEELCHAIR VOUCHER SCHEME
The independent wheelchair voucher scheme is there when you don’t wish to take up the offer of an NHS wheelchair. The independent wheelchair voucher starts off with an assessment of your wheelchair needs usually undertaken by someone from your local Wheelchair Services department. To find your local Wheelchair Services please visit the NHS Directory of Services website and follow the onscreen instructions.
They send out someone to assess you either a local occupational therapist, physiotherapist or someone else from Wheelchair Services. There is then a set procedure that has to be undertaken by Wheelchair Services which could take a number of weeks or a few months to conclude, so be prepared! You need to choose a wheelchair company who are on the approved list of wheelchair providers with your Wheelchair Services department. Once you receive your voucher which could be as little as £50 or as much as £1600, the value depends on your individual mobility needs and also the scheme from your local Wheelchair Services. You can then go out and purchase your new wheelchair!
DISABILITY EQUIPMENT AND MOBILITY AIDS
Equipment and aids can be provided to assist you with daily living. These include:
- Walking sticks
- Toilet frame
- Perching stool
- Bed cradle to keep the bed clothes off your body
- Shower stool or chair
- Hand rails
Buying your wheelchair for the 1st time can be a daunting prospect. There are so many different types and terminology that can baffle some people. However there is a very good guide by ALPINE HC on ‘How to buy a Wheelchair’ which gives you an insight into how to buy your wheelchair, what the disadvantages, advantages, points and features to think about when buying your wheelchair. Visit their link -> ‘How to buy a Wheelchair’ to read their guide! They have a good range of mobility equipment including wheelchairs on their website.
There are many, many places where you can buy a wheelchair from, however it all depends on your budget as wheelchairs can be very expensive. You can have manual wheelchairs, powered wheelchairs, a system like the Benoit that turns your manual wheelchair to a powered on by using a light drive system which simply attaches to your manual chair. Many people will have had several wheelchairs of varying costs in their lifetime and many like the QUICKIE wheelchairs. The QUICKIE range can be bought from a number of places both online and from a Mobility Shop.
RGK LIFE has a good range of bespoke manual wheelchairs include the TIGA FX which is a manual folding wheelchair that folds down to the size of an airline storage bin!
If you need help in paying for a wheelchair then please contact your Adult Social Services department to ask for a Needs Assessment or ask for an INDEPENDENT WHEELCHAIR VOUCHER to purchase your own that you would prefer (see above). This is only applicable in England & Wales. (Outside of England & Wales please contact your local Council department to see what help can be offered.) The range is from Sunrise Medical and they sell from lots of companies. This is their link – Sunrise Medical
This is a huge section all of it’s own, however there are many different types of mobility scooter. If you receive the Higher rate mobility of DLA, the enhanced rate of the mobility part of PIP or the War Pensioners’ mobility supplement then you are able to use this towards the cost of leasing your mobility scooter under the Motability scheme. This is the link to the mobility scooters and powered wheelchairs section – Motability scheme. If you don’t want to use your benefits in the Motability scheme you can purchase the scooter yourself which can be quite expensive especially if you choose very light weight ones.
CRUTCHES, WALKERS & STICKS
You don’t have to stick to the NHS steel grey crutches and sticks to help you walk! There are many companies who now sell all different colours, shapes, sizes, open & closed cuffs, folding … Companies such as Chic Aid in Leeds sell a wide variety of crutches, Betterlife Healthcare sell the grey crutches, ferrules (the rubber on the bottom of your sticks and crutches) as well as all kinds of mobility aids and The Stick & Cane shop who just sell all types of walking sticks and canes.
ROLLATORS AND WALKERS – Again these come in various shapes, sizes and types. There are the ones with seats on, baskets attached, 4 wheels, 3 wheels, 2 wheels, wide ones, stick seats… THE MOBILITY SUPERSTORE has a huge range of mobility and living aids.
Being confined to a wheelchair or bed bound can cause you a number of health problems such as bed or pressure sores that need to be addressed as soon as possible, which is why Occupational Therapists ensure your comfort and health are always dealt with initially.
So, what are pressure or bed sores and how can they be avoided?
Alpine HC have created an excellent resource entitled ‘The Complete Guide to Pressure Ulcers (Bed Sores)’ which you can read via their link -> ‘The Complete Guide to Pressure Ulcers (Bed Sores).’ Alpine have got a range of pressure relieving seating as well as pressure relieving mattresses.
PRESSURE RELIEVING MATTRESSES
What is a pressure relieving mattress?
Pressure relieving mattresses are specially designed to relieve as much pressure from your body as possible. So if you spend long periods in bed due to mobility problems or full body CRPS, then considering a pressure relieving mattress is essential for not only your comfort but your health as well. Learn more about pressure relieving mattresses via the Alpine HC guide ‘What is a Pressure Mattress?’
What is a Profiling Bed?
Profiling beds have a number of names including; hospital profiling beds, care beds, medical beds, disability beds, electric beds and adjustable beds. But they are all the same thing. A profiling bed is a bed that’s used to assist and help in the care of disabled and chronically ill individuals. There are a number of different types of profiling bed as well as a number of different heights.
How do you buy a profiling bed?
Choosing the correct profiling bed is very important especially if you are using the bed most of the time. This guide, ‘How to buy a Hospital Profiling Bed’ helps make the decision easier and ultimately give you the opportunity to make the right decision for you.
AROUND THE HOME
- PERCHING STOOLS – These are really good for use in the kitchen. It allows you to safely sit at a higher height to maybe reach up higher areas e.g. the kitchen cupboards. Companies such as OT Stores or Mobility Smart have a good range of different styles of perching stool.
- TROLLEY – What this means are the Hostess Trolleys as they used to be called. These are a brilliant idea if you are struggling to walk as you can put your meals, drinks, plates etc. on the trolley and use the trolley handles to grab onto and use it to steady yourself as you push and walk with it.
- RING CAN PULLER – If you have trouble with your hands then this little device is great to open any cans with ring pulls. You can buy these from lots of places both on the internet like Amazon or Kitchenworks Inc or in shops on the high street like Argos.
- ELECTRIC FRUIT, POTATO & VEGETABLE PEELER – This is a great kitchen item if you have problems with your hands as it is a hands free way of peeling fruit, potatoes, vegetables such as carrots and will even zests oranges and lemons! You can buy 1 of these electric peelers online from companies such as Coopers of Stortford (You can also get a FREE donation from Easy Fundraising to help us raise money!)
USE OF MOBILE DEVICES, WRITING AND COMPUTERS
If you have CRPS in your upper limb then writing, using a computer or using a mobile device can be difficult. Here are some apps and software that may help you with using a phone, mobile or your computer:
VOICE TO TEXT FREE APPS
- Dragon Dictation
- Voice Texting Pro
- Xenom app – Speech to Text
- Voice Text By TalirApps – According to Free Apps For me website – “Use your voice to send messages without typing. Speak into your phone, clicking the button, and this app immediately converts your words into text. It’s pretty simple. The features are no keyboards and typing required.“
- Voice Text by Matthew Rice
- ListNote Speech-To-Text on Android
If you own an iPhone, iPad or Mac then you already have Apple’s Siri-powered, built-in dictation. By default, you can dictate up to 30 seconds while you are connected to the Internet, using Siri’s servers to detect and translate what you said. This is good if it is a quick note rather than a longer note or essay. (Esposito, E. 2017)
Why not have a read of the ‘Beginners Guide to Dictation Software: The Best Apps for Voice to Text Productivity’ to help you understand how to use voice to text software or apps?
Burning Nights CRPS Support also has an infographic on Making The Internet More Accessible For All which is also worth a read!
SOFTWARE FOR SPEECH TO TEXT
- Dragon Naturally Speaking
- Windows Speech Recognition
- Google Docs Voice Typing
- Apple Diction
HELP OUTSIDE YOUR HOME
ENGLAND & WALES – If you live in a council house or flat you are able to get help with your gardening and garden maintenance if you are elderly or disabled.
For those in WALES, SCOTLAND & NORTHERN IRELAND it is advisable to contact your local authority to find out if they have a similar scheme. Visit the following pages depending on which part of the country you live:
- Esposito, E. (2017) ‘‘Beginners Guide to Dictation Software: The Best Apps for Voice to Text Productivity’ Zapier. Accessed 08/06/2017. Available from: <https://zapier.com/blog/best-text-dictation-software/>
- Free Apps For Me (2016) “15 best voice to text apps for iPhone & Android,‘ Accessed 08/06/2017. Available from: <http://freeappsforme.com/voice-to-text-apps/>
**Please note that Burning Nights is in no way liable or responsible for any external links on any page of this website. They are suggestions only**
Hopefully our disability equipment page has given you some help and understanding in the world of mobility aids, disability grants, help around the home and using your mobile, laptop or computer. If you use another piece of disability equipment or a good shop that sells your mobility products, please send us an EMAIL, share or comment about our page on social media, or use the CONTACT FORM.
Last Updated: 08/06/2017