27. 04. 2020
If you, or someone you care for, is living with a disability, you know how debilitating it can be. And if your home isn’t up to scratch, it can make life even more difficult. The good news is you don’t have to sell your home and start again or move to another rental. In fact, it could be as simple as making some minor modifications and alterations to your hallway, doorways, garage, kitchen or bathroom.
Making home modifications can have a huge positive impact on your life or the life of the ones you’re caring for. Keep reading to find out how home modifications and bathroom modifications, in particular, could make life a whole lot easier on everyone.
NDIS Home Modifications
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provides financial support to people who are living with a disability, under the age of 65 years. The scheme aims to provide housing and health support, as well as better access to community services. One of the things they do is assist people with home modifications, provided your modifications fall under their assessment guidelines.
According to the NDIS, home modifications are defined as “any changes to the structure, layout or fittings of an environment that are required to increase the ease and safety of access with which tasks can be performed”.
The NDIS may fund home modifications if carers and the person living with a disability are unable to reasonably access particular rooms in the house, such as the bathroom. It can include adding fixtures and fittings, or full redesigns to suit.
NDIS home bathroom modifications
A sudden illness or injury, or longer-term impairment could mean a revamp of your current bathroom is now necessary. When it comes to handicap bathrooms for residential tenants, there are a range of modifications you might consider, particularly if you’re planning on applying for financial assistance with the NDIS. These include:
- Installing handrails and other mobility aids
- Hand-held showers
- Adapted toilet, with toilet roll holder fitted at a reachable height
- Removing shower screens
- Installation of easy-to-use taps
- A bath that includes non-slip mats, grab rails and more space
- Addition of slip-resistant surfaces and treatments
- Widening doorways
- Adjustment of the bench heights
- Moving light switches and power points, so they are within easy reach
- Installation of platforms or hoists, if required
Assessing Your Requirements
If you require NDIS assistance for your bathroom renovation, you first need to undergo a home modifications assessment. The home modification assessments are completed by NDIS registered provider, who must prove to the NDIS that modifications are necessary within your bathroom. This is completed by an Occupational Therapist (OT) who will visit your home. They will look at the current layout of your home, observe the activities you complete daily, and assess what you need further assistance with (if anything). They’ll then discuss their findings with you and make recommendations.
The OT will complete a report that includes measurements of the changes required, including doorway widths that need changing, rail heights and diameters, and so on. They’ll even come back after the work is completed to evaluate the changes. Get in touch with your local NDIS office to find out more.
How To Choose The Best Home Modifications Company
Once you’re approved for NDIS home modifications, the next step is to find a reputable company to complete the work for you. The best way to do this is to get on Google and search for local companies. Give them a call or send them an email and ask them the following questions:
- How long has the company been in business?
- Are they experienced in disability home modifications?
- Have they completed disability bathroom projects previously?
- Are they fully insured?
- Do they have access to an occupational therapist who may provide advice in designing a bathroom for independent living?
- Can they provide references for previous accessible bathroom home renovations projects?
It’s best if you have an idea in mind of what you need, but that doesn’t have to always be the case, and many bathroom renovations companies are happy to provide advice.
At Crystal Bathrooms, we provide NDIS home modifications to ensure your disability bathroom provides everything you need for comfortable living. We also offer aged care bathroom renovation services.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a home modification?
Home modifications are changes to your home, whether this is the structure, the layout of the house or fittings. It allows someone who is living with a disability better access to the home and features within it, including safer access, to enter the home and to move around inside. Home modifications could include a full redesign of your bathroom or adding rails in the toilet, to building a ramp at the front door. NDIS home modifications are generally only made if it is expected that the home will remain the primary residence in the long term.
How do I get permission to make alterations to my home?
To make alterations to your home, there are several laws and regulations you must adhere to. These include the Building Codes and Australian Standards, which regulate the type of home modifications you can complete. Minor alterations usually don’t need anyone’s permission, unless you are renting or you require assistance from the NDIS – in which case you need both your landlord’s permission, and you need to see if you’re eligible for financial assistance. Major alterations, however, could be subject to Council approval, so your best bet is to contact your local City Council to discuss your requirements.
What is the National Disability Insurance Scheme?
The National Disability Insurance Scheme is also known as the NDIS, which is administered by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA). The organisation is jointly funded and governed by the Australian Government and State governments. It provides financial support to people who are under 65 years of age, who are living with a disability, as well as their families and carers. The role of the NDIS is to provide a range of support packages to eligible people. It also aims to help people with a disability have better access to mainstream services, such as housing and health; provide better access to community services, and to help those living with a disability maintain their own support systems.
Does NDIS cover home modifications?
There are some instances in which the NDIS will consider funding your home modifications.
- If the person’s disability means they, or their carers, are not able to access and use common rooms and spaces, including using fixtures and fittings;
- If the home has a significant negative impact on living sustainability for the resident and carers;
- If a qualified Occupational Therapist has assessed the home and stated it is not suitable without modifications;
- If you’re renting and the landlord has given permission.
How do I request a modification?
As part of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, arranging a home modification varies depending on where you live. It also depends on if you are renting or an owner. If you’re renting and your home is public or community housing, you need to contact your local Housing Provider. If you’re renting privately, ask your landlord’s permission to make any changes to the home. If you own your property, you can simply undertake the modifications yourself. This changes if the property is part of public or community housing, in which case you need to contact the operator of the retirement village or the Owner’s Corporation.