Occupational therapy & community equipment

Occupational therapy provides support for those whose health prevents them from doing regular daily activities. The service is for children and adults.

An occupational therapist identifies what you do well and what you struggle with in your normal life. Then they explore alternative ways to do them.

Occupational Therapists (OTs) work in hospitals and in the community, and are employed by:

  • Health authorities: OTs enable hospitals to be as independent as possible. They are also provided in the community to provide rehabilitation to help people regain skills they have lost due to ill health
  • Local authorities: OTs support people who have a long term condition resulting in a disability
  • OT agencies: OTs are available through private funding
  • Some OTs are self-employed

Who we can help?

We can help people with a long-term health condition resulting in disability, and needs help with the following. Please note, to be eligible you must live in the London Borough of Harrow:

  • enter and leave your home
  • wash, bath and use the toilet
  • use living and sleeping areas
  • use food preparation and cooking areas
  • access some of the garden
  • reduce risks in your home related to your impairment

Who we cannot help

We are not able to help if:

  • Your health condition is  expected to improve, eg a hip replacement.
  • You need equipment to help you manage with a hearing impairment or visual impairment. Contact our Sensory Team instead.
  • You need a period of rehabilitation to overcome the physical, psychological and social problems caused by ill health. In such cases you need to speak to your GP about a referral to the appropriate team.
  • You need equipment for employment or education.
  • Where an assessment is required for mobility equipment such as walking aids or wheelchairs. Instead, you can ask your GP for a referral to a physiotherapist or to wheelchair services.
  • You need only small pieces of equipment. These can be bought from independent local suppliers, pharmacies, online, etc.
  • You have bought a mobility scooter. It is your responsibility to ensure that you can store it, charge it and access your home with it.

How you can help yourself

You can buy your own equipment including adapted cutlery or cups, lever taps and high backed chairs. You’ll find suppliers at:

You can also visit the Disabled Living Foundation website (DLF) which gives impartial advice and training on independent living. DLF is a national charity. They provide independent advice on mobility aids, disability aids and daily living equipment.

If you do not want to go through the council, you can contact an occupational therapist directly. The professional body for occupational therapists is the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT). They work in a wide range of areas across the UK.

To work out how much help you need, an assessment will need to be carried out by an Occupational Therapist or a Trusted Assessor. They will assess your eligibility, agree your needs with you, and discuss how we can help you. This could include signposting and advice, or providing equipment (e.g. raised toilet seat / perching stool/ grab rails). These pieces of equipment can sometimes be all that is needed to help you to maintain your independence and wellbeing.

Equipment and minor adaptations

The council has a contract with Medequip to provide equipment and minor adaptations. They undertake the following jobs for homecare equipment:

  • delivery
  • installation
  • repair
  • maintenance
  • collection
  • cleaning
  • recycling 

If you are provided with equipment from Medequip, and it needs repairing please contact Medequip directly. If you no longer need the equipment, Medequip will collect equipment with a value over £25, or multiple pieces of equipment.

Lower cost single items of equipment are often cheaper to buy new than to have collected and cleaned. So you may be advised to take the equipment to a second hand shop where it can be sold.

Adaptations and disabled facilities grants

If you are disabled, and struggle with day-to-day activities, an adaptation to your property may be the solution.

An OT will carry out an assessment to see if an adaptation is necessary and appropriate. If it is, a referral will be made to Harrow’s Home Improvement Agency. For information about home adaptations, please see our home adaptions grants and services for disabled and senior people page.

How to make a referral to the Occupational Therapy team

You can refer yourself or be referred by someone else with your consent. Contact us via the details at the end of this page.