Caring for a disabled child or young person can sometimes be made easier with the use of certain aids and equipment.
Some items such as mobility aids or special beds are expensive so you may be able to get financial support.
This information is about the main sources of equipment and where to go for further advice.
Who provides equipment?
The main sources of equipment are from the health service, children's services or social services department and from the education department.
In general, social services are responsible for providing equipment for daily living and non-medical needs, and your health authority is responsible for providing equipment to meet nursing or medical needs. In addition, equipment to help a child access the curriculum may be arranged by a school or local education authority.
Both your local health authority and your local social services department provide aids and equipment to disabled people. Under section 2 of the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970 (England and Wales) a local authority has a duty to provide practical assistance and additional facilities designed to secure greater safety, comfort or convenience to those people assessed as needing them.
Who to contact
In the first place, you should contact your social worker if you have one or contact your GP and tell them about the kind of help you're looking for. You can also approach other healthcare or personal care professionals such as the district nurse, physiotherapist or school nurse.
Assessing you and/or your child's needs
An occupational therapist (OT) or social worker will usually visit you in your home to discuss the situation further and carry out the assessment. An OT is a professional who can advise on equipment for daily living and managing more easily within the home.
When you're visited by the OT or social worker it is important that your needs as a carer and those of other family members are taken into account. This includes any health and safety concerns. If your child also needs equipment to help with medical or health needs then a joint assessment should be carried out and the social worker or OT may contact the community nursing service or your GP.