Occupational therapy

Occupational therapy provides support to children and adults whose health prevents them from doing activities of daily living.

An occupational therapist can identify the things you can do well and the things that you find difficult in your normal life, and see if there is another way to do them.
Occupational Therapists (OTs) work in hospitals and in the community, and are employed by:

  • health authorities  - provide OTs in hospitals to enable them to leave hospital as independent as possible,  and also in the community to provide rehabilitation to help people regain skills they have lost due to ill health
  • local authorities – provide OTs to support people who have a long term condition resulting in a disability
  • OT agencies – provide privately funded OTs
  • Some OTs are self-employed.

Who we can help?

If you or your child lives in the London Borough of Harrow, and has a long-term health condition resulting in disability and needs help to:

  • 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 e.g. hip replacement
  • you need equipment to help you manage with a hearing impairment or visual impairment. We have a Sensory Team who can provide equipment to people over 18 years
  • you need a period of rehabilitation to overcome the physical, psychological and social problems caused by ill health, 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 (walking aids for example walking frames, walking sticks or wheelchairs you can ask your GP for a referral to a physiotherapist or to wheelchair services)
  • you need only small pieces of equipment which you can buy from a range of independent local suppliers, pharmacy’s, DIY stores or on-line
  • you have bought a mobility scooter, as 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 help yourself by using self assessment tools available.

If you're looking to buy your own equipment such as 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, information and training on independent living.

DLF is a national charity providing 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 working in a wide range of areas in the UK is the Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT).

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 if you are eligible for support, and then 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), and these pieces of equipment can sometimes be all that is needed to help you to maintain your independence and wellbeing.

If you do not qualify for a service from the council, you can buy equipment directly from accredited retailers across the borough, see the details above.

Equipment and Minor Adaptations

The council has a contract with Medequip to provide equipment and minor adaptations. This includes the delivery, installation, repair, maintenance, collection, cleaning and recycling homecare equipment.
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.

For lower cost single items of equipment, the cost of collecting and cleaning the equipment can be more than the value of the equipment, and 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, you may find it difficult to carry out day-to-day activities in your home, and an adaptation maybe needed to the property.

An Occupational Therapist will carry out an assessment to see if an adaptation is necessary and appropriate.

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 someone else can refer you, with your consent, by contacting Access Harrow on tel 020 8901 2680 requesting an assessment by an Occupational Therapist.

Alternatively, you can email AHAdults@harrow.gov.uk.