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Occupational therapy services

If you struggle with everyday tasks because you're ill, frail or because of a disability, our occupational therapy service may be able to provide practical support to make things easier (for example by identifying practical support to help with cooking or using transport to visit friends/family).

You may also find what you need on our equipment and gadgets or help with mobility pages.

Occupational therapy services

Who we can help

We may be able to help you if you're a Southwark resident and you:

  • have a physical disability
  • are an older person and you struggle with everyday tasks because you're frail
  • have a health condition that's getting worse
  • look after someone who has a disability
  • have a mental health issue or a learning disability which makes it hard for you to do everyday tasks (for example cooking)

We can provide you with occupational therapy support if you meet the criteria set out in the Care Act. We'll assess your needs to find out if you meet the criteria. If we cannot offer you support, we'll always offer you information and advice to help you with your needs.

How occupational therapy services can help

Depending on your situation we may:

  • offer you advice on how to manage everyday tasks, such as washing
  • recommend equipment that could help (for example, equipment to help you getting in and out of the bath or on and off the toilet); we can offer you equipment free of charge through a prescription or on long term loan if we think the equipment would help
  • recommend and arrange small or large adaptations to your home, such as installing ramps or a stair lift
  • provide advice and information about other services
  • help you with installing an alarm or telecare equipment; we can assess your needs to see if we can provide the telecare free of charge, but you may still need to contribute towards the cost of monitored alarms (the maximum weekly charge is £5.75 and you can find more information on our paying for your care page)

Helpful equipment

We may give you a free prescription which you can exchange for equipment if you have eligible care and support needs . We'll assess your needs to see if you meet  criteria.

There are organisations in your local area, including pharmacists, who have trained staff who can show you how the equipment works and give you more information.

You can ask the retailer directly for extra features to be added to the equipment. You'll have to pay the cost of any such changes.

Equipment on loan

We can loan you equipment for as long as you need it to keep safe and independent.

If the equipment needs repairing or replacing, call 020 7231 6816.

If an emergency repair is needed outside of office hours (9am to 5pm), call 020 8573 2871. Not all electrical equipment is covered by the emergency agreement, so for some repairs you'll need to wait until the next working day to report the problem.

When you no longer need the equipment we'll collect it. We'll clean and recycle it so someone else can use it. To arrange for equipment to be collected, call 020 7525 3962.

Adaptations to your home

When we assess your needs we'll discuss helpful adaptations to your home.

Occupational therapy services - builder

Minor adaptations

These include:

  • external handrails, grab rails or alterations to steps
  • grab rails or drop down rails near the toilet, to help with transfers
  • a second stair rail to help you use the stairs more safely

Major adaptations

These include:

  • ramps to allow wheelchair access to your property
  • level or low-access showers if you cannot safely use the bath
  • a hoist to help your carer move you
  • stair lifts

We'll look at what support you need to stay safe and independent while you're waiting for any major adaptations to be completed.

If your property isn't suitable to meet your future needs, we can provide you with advice and guidance to help you move to a more suitable property.

Paying for adaptations to your home

The cost of adaptations to your home will depend on what is required and who owns your property.

If you're a Southwark Council tenant:

  • any recommended adaptations or alterations to your home will be organised and paid for by the council

If you own or privately rent your home:

  • you may be entitled to a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) to pay for the adaptation/s
    • the maximum grant is £30,000
    • the grant is means tested and you may have to make a contribution (that amount will depend on your income and savings)

We'll refer you to the council's Home Improvement Agency (HIA) who will arrange for the Disabled Facilities Grant to be completed for you.

If you're a Housing Association tenant:

  • we'll contact your housing association to ask them to carry out the adaptation/s; some housing associations may not have enough money to pay for the major adaptation/s and they may therefore ask you to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant

You can find out more about the Disabled Facilities Grant at GOV.UK.

How to ask for an occupational therapy assessment

To request an occupational therapy assessment call 020 7525 3324 or email Alternatively, you can complete a referral form (docx, 57kb). If you are a professional making a referral on the behalf of a service user you should complete the referral form for professionals (docx, 56kb).

We receive a lot of requests for our services. If your need isn't urgent, you may have to wait a while before we can assess you.

Repairs and maintenance of adaptations

Occupational therapy services - repairs

If you're a council tenant you need to contact:

If you're a council tenant you need to contact:

  • the Council’s Contact Centre on 020 7525 2600; if you have a stair lift or ceiling tract hoists, contact 020 7525 2600, for out of hours contact 0800 952 4444
  • 0207 525 1866 if the item is still under warranty (1 year)
  • lifts on 020 7525 2600  (office hours) or 0800 952 4444 (out of hours) if an emergency repair is required

Housing association tenants should check with their individual housing association. Housing associations should service, maintain and repair the adaptation/s.

If you're an owner/occupier the adaptation is your property once it is fitted. As the owner you're responsible for any servicing, maintenance and repair.

If you're a private tenant the adaptation becomes your property once it's fitted. You should check whether your landlord will take on any responsibility for repairs and maintenance of the adaptation; if they don't, you're responsible.

Page last updated: 22 October 2020

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