A new research project has launched to help social landlords support more of their residents to live independently in accessible homes.
Foundations, a government-funded national body for home improvement agencies, is looking at how housing associations and other registered providers carry out a range of home adaptations, from grab rails to stair lifts, that help vulnerable tenants with sight loss and dementia.
Foundations Independent Living Trust (FILT) is supporting the study together with two housing associations that specialise in accessible properties, Habinteg and Anchor Hanover.
The results will feed into a report that will showcase innovation and good practice with the aim of helping more people to remain living independently in their own homes.
Paul Smith, director of Foundations, said: “Social landlords play a vital role in supporting some of the most vulnerable people in society to live independently. This important research will improve the evidence base about how home adaptations are carried out and help housing associations and other providers to improve the way they work with tenants to ensure homes are accessible.
“We’d also really like to hear from organisations that feel they are delivering home adaptations and accessible homes very effectively, have a good partnership with local authorities, are using innovative designs, or have any other examples of good practice.”
At the heart of the research is a survey covering seven themes, including policies and protocols around adaptations, the use of specialist staff such as occupational therapists and how adaptations are retained and recorded. It also looks at what support is offered to tenants to move home rather than have their property adapted.
Nick Sedgwick, director of service development at Anchor Hanover, said: “We can all point to many examples where appropriate aids and adaptations have massively improved the quality of life of residents. However, we also know of cases where there have been difficulties and delays in delivering the appropriate solution. Anchor Hanover supports this research project so we can share examples of good practice and all the organisation involved in the adaptations process can improve the way we deliver this important service.”
Nicholas Bungay, director of strategy & external affairs at Habinteg, said: “By joining forces with Foundations and Anchor Hanover, we hope this research will help to improve the independence and quality of life for disabled tenants and their families. The results of the survey will help to uncover best practice in the sector, particularly around how adaptations can be delivered innovatively.”