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Health and housing support

If the layout or facilities within your current home is restricting your independence, putting you at risk and/or worsening your health because of a disability or long term condition, we may be able to help.

Whether you are a South Tyneside Homes tenant, tenant with another housing provider or you own your own home within South Tyneside, below is a guide to the services within South Tyneside which you might find useful.

Moving home for health purposes

If your current home is no longer meeting your needs because of a disability or a long term condition, you can request an Occupational Therapy assessment from the Health and Housing Team once you have made an application to move home through Tyne and Wear Homes. This applies to difficulties faced by yourself, or anyone else who lives permanently in the property with you.

When you apply to move through Tyne and Wear Homes, you should let us know about how your current property is having a detrimental effect on your health and wellbeing within Section 9 of the Tyne and Wear Homes' application form entitled 'Medical Assessment'. 

Top Tip: Speed up your application by providing us with copies of any supporting medical evidence such as reports from a specialist, therapist or social worker at the time you make your application. You can email copies of these to connect2@southtynesidehomes.org.uk

What will happen during a Health and Housing assessment?

One of our Occupational Therapists will contact you by telephone to find out more about you and your specific needs, and may arrange a home visit if required. We might ask you to contact your doctor, specialist, support worker, social worker and other medical professionals to provide us with supporting evidence about your housing need if you haven't already. We may also contact social services or other agencies involved with you.

The Occupational Therapist will consider your immediate needs as well as your potential needs in the future. Based on the assessment and any specialist medical letters you have provided, the Occupational Therapist will recommend a suitable course of action. This could include:

  • If you are assessed as having medical reason for needing to move home, we may award you a level of medical priority.
  • We will recommend what type of property will meet your needs; this will include advice around bidding on pre-adapted properties if you are assessed as needing adaptations to remain independent.
  • We may offer you equipment and supportive technology to help you to be independent in your current home. This could include walking aids, alarms and pendants or other items of equipment.
  • We will provide advice and support around property types which would meet your needs, and availability of those properties.

If you live outside of South Tyneside

If you live outside of South Tyneside, it is the duty of your local authority to assess any difficulties that you are having within your home. Please be advised that our Occupational Therapists cannot provide Health and Housing assessments to those living outside of South Tyneside, but you can be considered for a Care and Support banding.

Please note: If you live outside of South Tyneside and feel at significant risk within your home, you should contact the local authority in the area that you currently live.

Sending us medical evidence

We appreciate that you usually will have to pay for a letter from your GP. It is important that if you are looking to give us a GP or specialist letter, the information should give us a diagnosis of your medical issues, as well as current treatment (e.g. medication or therapy).

The medical professional should also tell us how your health or diagnosed medical conditions are affected by your current home environment, with suggestions as to what would help your health problems that are worsened by your current accommodation.

We will not accept a generic letter from your GP.

Moving to give or receive care

If you require a level of care or support from a family member to help you to live more independently, we may be able to award you a priority band to enable you to move to a more suitable location to receive the care and support that you require if you live over a mile from the person who supports you. If you can provide us with evidence relating to what help you receive on a daily basis, we can assess your application.

Care and Support band awards can be considered for both South Tyneside and out of borough residents.

What is a priority band award?

You may be awarded a priority band to move home based on the outcome of your Occupational Therapy assessment or assessment of your care needs.

The assessment will determine the level of risk that you are in and you will be considered for the appropriate priority band based on the negative impacts of your current property on your long term health and wellbeing. You can read here about What is the banding system?

If you are awarded a priority, this will be for a limited period of time and will give you the opportunity to find suitable accommodation which meets your needs in a safe and timely manner. We will write to you to let you know whether you are eligible for a priority band award, the date that your award will expire, and also what type and size of property you are entitled to bid on within our current policy.

It is important that you bid for all advertised properties that meet your needs. If your award expires and you have not moved to a suitable property, your application will be reviewed by an Occupational Therapist. It is not guaranteed that we will extend your priority award or re-award this to you.

Staying independent in your current home

If you or anyone else who lives with you is struggling to stay independent in your current property because of mobility problems, are recovering from an illness or are struggling with mental ill-health or dementia, South Tyneside Council's Let's Talk team may be able to help. If you need to talk about support and help to enable independence within the home, call the Let's Talk team on 0191 424 6000 to speak to an adviser, or arrange an appointment.

You can also find more useful information on South Tyneside Council's website about Support and Care for Adults and Support and Care for Children.

Equipment and making changes to your home

Making changes or adaptations to your home, or using equipment and supportive technology could support you in performing everyday tasks and remaining independent in your home.

An Occupational Therapist will be able to make an assessment, discuss options and recommendations and how any major work will be organised as well as funding options.

There are a number of services available:

  • assessments 
  • information and support 
  • advice on suitable equipment or adaptations for the home 
  • advice about assistive technology (e.g. telephone systems and alarms) 
  • recommendations for permanent home alterations
  • support to apply for a disabled facilities grant if this is needed to fund adaptations
  • short term rehabilitation programmes
  • support following hospital discharge 
  • have easier access and movement around the home to help the disabled person to care for someone dependent on them, who also lives there
  • have easier access to the garden

For more information around equipment and adaptations, funding options, or to request an assessment contact the Let's Talk team on  0191 424 6000 or email letstalk@southtyneside.gov.uk

Frequently asked questions

What is an Occupational Therapist?

Occupational therapists are qualified healthcare professionals who are experts in assessing your needs. They help people with mental, physical or social disabilities to independently carry out everyday tasks or occupations and work with children and adults of all ages.

If you request a Health and Housing assessment, our Occupational Therapists will assess your needs based on your current circumstances, and the impact that your current home is having on your health.

What are adaptations?

An adaptation is a special fixture or fitting that is designed to help you with your day-to-day living, improve your mobility in and around your home and improve access to your home. This could include changes such as a wet room or widened doors for wheelchair access.

What is equipment?

Equipment is specialist items that can be provided within your home to help you with day-to-day living and improve access around your home. This could include items such as a stair lift, a shower chair or grab rails.

What is supportive technology?

Supportive technology can be simple pieces of technology that can make a big difference to your quality of life and, in many instances, save you the effort of having to move home, either into sheltered housing or a care home. This could include Telecare alarms and sensors which can alert family or carers should you have a fall, leave the home, or if a fire or leak occurs in the home.