Rebuilding and designing a home for a boy with a brain injury

T suffered from complications while at hospital following his birth and as a result sustained severe brain injuries.  Following years of litigation the family was awarded compensation.  T’s parents bought a medium-sized house in a large plot of land, with the intention of adapting the property for T.  Their plans included extending the downstairs area to twice its original size in order to create a unit for T and his 24-hour carer.

Working with the architect

An architect drew up draft plans and our OT (occupational therapist) began her involvement in the project.  With her occupational therapy expertise she was able to highlight issues that the architectural team had not anticipated.  For example, she was concerned that the sensory room had been built next to the utility room and that the noise from the washing and drying appliances would disturb T whilst he was trying to relax next door. Part of her brief was to find and guide the right company with the design and installation of the sensory room – she was therefore able to ensure that the company chosen was able to adequately sound proof the sensory room.

Bathroom adaptation and equipment

The OT was able to give her professional advice regarding the placement of the bathroom internal fittings (shower, toilet, hand basin etc.)  She analysed where the carers would need to stand and how T would be transferred into and around the room.  The layout of the bathroom was designed with this important caring information in mind, including choosing the right slip-resistant flooring, shower stretcher, height-adjustable bath and bath cushion.

The bathing equipment that T’s parents purchased was based on our OT’s recommendations. In order to ensure that they understood how each item worked, she arranged for the manufacturers to come to the house to demonstrate their products and allow T to try them out for a trial period.

Access into and around the property

Our OT then reviewed how T was moving around both inside and outside the house.  She looked at the electric wheelchair that he was using and adjusted the head rest and the seat to encourage good posture.  She also researched suitable all-terrain buggies so that he was able to participate in more outdoor activities with the rest of the family. The buggy purchased has allowed T to join his family on excursions to the beach, local woods and to participate in a charity run with his dad.

Environmental controls

Whilst the work was being completed on the house our OT identified a CCTV and door-opening system which enabled the parents to control and monitor T’s unit. A special camera was fitted in T’s bedroom to enable the parents to see and hear him during the night.

Manual handling for carers

Once the building work had been finished, and the equipment purchased, our OT drew up a comprehensive manual training plan for T’s carers. She trained them personally in T’s house, using his equipment – a service that will ensure they know exactly what to do and how to do it right.

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