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Case History The First Of Its Type for Those With Acquired Brain Injuries - Thinking outside the box to provide a 'lifetime home'

T.P Properties were commissioned by statutory services in a joint funding initiative to co-ordinate the requirements of all stakeholders to design a property around the needs of three individuals with acquired brain injury (ABI).  This project was to offer a 'home for life' concept.  The future tenants were identified by professional parties as requiring re-housing as one was inappropriately located in NHS facilities due to lack of appropriate accommodation, the second had completed their stay at a rehabilitation unit, and the third was living in the family home and wanted to move on.

The publication 'A Foot In The Door' is a toolkit for engaging housing and health.  It shows how the different strands of a joined up approach bind together to tackle health inequalities to deliver improved outcomes, and to assist organisations build stronger collaborative relationships with health and wellbeing leaders, and plan and execute an engagement strategy.  Its ideology underpins this innovative brief, though the professional structures were not truly reflective.

Each occupant of this case had unique requirements for their home based on their medical needs, residential history and community presence desires.  They, along with their families, social workers, occupational therapists and physiotherapists, were partnered with our architectural and design team (the Development Team).  The brief was to provide a future-proofed model for all individuals involved.  The group met weekly to identify the property, define appropriate designs for remodelling, apply for suitable building and planning regulations, and then to shepherd the bespoke work through to completion.

The plan that came from these meetings involved:

  • Demolition of a garage to allow for a wheelchair friendly construction of a large bedroom, wet room, sluice to recognise hygiene needs, and a relaxation area
  • Removal of walls and repositioning of corridors with suitable door widths
  • Non-slip flooring in appropriate places
  • Design of adapted bathing facilities
  • Temperature controlled bathing facilities
  • Landscaping of gardens to ensure they were available, stimulating and with due maintenance consideration
  • Smoke and heat detection systems of a specialist type, as it was necessary to link the door closures to the fire alarm to be activated automatically in the event of a fire
  • Specialist fixtures and furnishings
  • Low work surfaces to encourage household participation
  • Smoking lean to
  • Neighbourhood working to dispel any concerns about the project

This project represents the first ABI adapted home in the region and was of such quality was to be proposed for an award.

A parent said:
'I was pleased that I was consulted about what (my son) needed in his room – his work desk, position of radiators, plugs etc.  Overall I am very pleased with the way the project was handled. You and the team have been brilliant and the concerns of us ‘over anxious’ parents were handled sensitively and patiently.  (He) loves the house – he refers to it as his home and says, 'It’s for keeps' '.

The Commissioner commented:
'Purchase good, communication good.  The big positive – the three guys are incredibly happy with their new home'.

'Health and Social Care Benefits', a government Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment has shown that implementing the Lifetime Homes Standard would have the following impacts on health and costs attributed to health:

  • Reduce, or delay the need for people to move to residential care
  • Reduce the demand for temporary residential care
  • Ensure that people are discharged from hospital into suitable accommodation instead of remaining in hospital in expensive acute hospital beds because their accommodation is unsuitable, and
  • Reduce the need for home care for disabled people.

'When considering the potential cost to society... it is suggested that building to the Lifetime Homes Standard could provide a further £1,600 in savings, or £8,600 if the potential adaptations were made.' [Assessing the health benefits of Lifetime Homes, Department for Communities and Local Government]  

Though it is recognised that there was some adaption of the Lifetime Homes Standard, the concept held true.  It is with satisfaction that currently the people that reside within this home are warm and welcome members of their local community, living a full and rich life.  We are happy to be part of making that happen.

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Landscaping of gardens