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Household aid adaptations

This section includes handgrips, clamps, cuffs and supports to help with using a range of household items.

Foam tubing and finger yokes. Foam tubing may be used to adapt the grip of standard cutlery or other utensils to make it easier to use, for example to increase the width of a spoon. Finger yokes support your fingers on the handle of the cutlery in the best position to undertake a task, for example stabilising the index finger and/or the thumb.

Handgrips and attachments include handles and arm supports that can be attached to a range of objects, and may provide enhanced grip and an ability to hold things with greater firmness and a more comfortable hand position. Some allow some of the weight of a tool to be taken through the forearm. Add-on handles and gripping aids can be used for other items such as golf, sports and cleaning equipment to assist you to use a long handled tool in an upright or sitting position. Some handles are universal in design, meaning they can be used with a range of items such as pens and toothbrushes.

Handgrips for attachment to cutlery are designed for specific cutlery ranges. A larger grip on cutlery or utensils means that your fingers don't need to be wrapped tightly around the cutlery in order to grip it securely. This can be helpful if you have pain in your hands or are unable to form a tight grip. Contoured handles are shaped to fit the contours of your hand, allowing a more secure grip of the handle. Some contoured handles also have finger indentations or are made from slip-resistant materials, helping to prevent your hand from slipping forward.

Forearm supports and stabilisers may assist with eating or drinking. These can be attached to a tray or table top and may help reduce tremor or uncontrolled movements during eating or drinking tasks. They may also be used for other tasks such as writing, computing and personal care, e.g. shaving.

Equipment to secure items in place including art and craft, photographic material, instruments or magnifiers. Items can be secured and positioned on a table or on a wheelchair. Bed attached clamping systems or holders enable objects such as cups and mirrors to be fixed to the bed frame or headboard in a convenient position.

Weighted cuffs may reduce hand tremors when writing or completing personal care tasks.

Abilitations Abiligrip Grips
Enlarged handgrips for attachment to cutlery, writing and craft implements. Constructed of brightly coloured soft foam.
Active Hands Looped Exercise Aid
Device to assist the user when gripping a wide range of items for example gym equipment, handlebars and tools. Comprises: an adjustable padded wrist s...
Coloured Closed Cell Foam Tubing
Tubular foam to enlarge the diameter of writing implements or utensil handles. Dishwasher safe. Range of colours available.
Cylindrical Foam Padding
Foam tubing designed to be used to build up the handles of cutlery or other household items to facilitate grip. Cut to required length.
Daylight Double Flexi-clamp
Flexible metal arm with two spring clamps. One end can be attached to a table or tray, and the other end can be used for holding a pattern or magnifie...
D-ring Gripping Aids
Wrist attached aids designed to help individuals when using gym equipment. Comprises: fabric aid is attached to the wrist via a Velcro strap; Velcro s...
Easi-Grip Add On Handles
Add-on handles which enable conventional garden tools to be converted into ergonomic tools. Comprises: plastic handles with soft feel grip which attac...
Easi-grip Paper Holder
Paper holder to secure paper for viewing and cutting purposes. Comprises two-part inverted plastic cone. Paper is secured between two cones and tighte...
Ergo Rest Arm Rest
Dynamic forearm support. Comprises padded trough on triple jointed arm which clamps onto table top. Enables movement in horizontal plane. Options incl...
Ezimate Back Saving Accessory
Plastic handles which can be attached to a range of tools or appliances in order to provide an additional and/or alternative grip position to facilita...
Functional Hand Splint
Hand splint suitable for holding a range of utensils including cutlery. Comprises: bulb-shaped handle; apertures at both ends into which utensil can b...
General Purpose Gripping Aid
Device to assist the user in gripping a wide range of objects for example hand tools, gardening implements and sports equipment such as snooker cues a...
Grabzi Grab Bar
Grab bar designed to provide a secure anchor point for one hand perhaps enabling the user to complete functional tasks with the other hand. Comprises:...
Groovz Stable Arm Guide
Supportive wrist guide designed to stabilise the arm while completing tasks at a desk, tray or other surface. Comprises: attaches to surfaces with Ve...
Hook Aids
Hook aids. Designed to help the user to grip and release equipment, in particular while in the gym or as part of an exercise activity. Comprises: stai...
Kings Built Up Sleeves
Contoured PVC sleeves to fit over Slim Kings Handle. Includes small and large contoured sleeves with finger indentations and oval sleeve tapered at bo...
Kings Cutlery Handles
Range of plastic handgrips, for use with Kings cutlery utensils. Handgrip fits onto plastic spigot at end of cutlery head. Range includes: curved shap...
Kings Double Ended Handles With Strap
Cutlery handgrips for use with Kings cutlery utensils. Comprises: handles with an aperture at both ends into which spigots can be inserted. Transparen...
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Buying equipment

There are several factors to consider when purchasing equipment.

Making complaints and reporting unsafe products

In most instances a complaint should initially be made to the supplier who provided you with the item. CAB has a range of guidelines on their website on making a complaint about poor service or faulty goods. These include complaining by phone, complaining in writing and template letters. CAB advice about making a complaint.
If you are not satisfied with the supplier's response then you may choose to complain to:

  • an ombudsman scheme
  • a regulator
  • an independent mediator
  • a trade association (if the supplier is a member of one)

 

Safety incidents involving medical devices can be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on the GOV UK website www.mhra.gov.uk or their Adverse incident centre hotline 020 3080 7080. The MHRA is the government agency responsible for ensuring that medical devices and medicines work and are acceptably safe. Their definition of 'Medical devices' includes devices used for assisting patients and users, thus many daily living aids such as bath lifts, commodes and walking sticks are medical devices. Any incident involving the safety of a medical device (including safety issues with its instructions for use) should be reported to the MHRA, especially if the incident contributed to, or could have caused injury, life-threatening illness or death.

Buying from a private person

Buying from a private person gives you fewer rights. You will only be able to claim against the seller if the product doesn't match its description or if the seller did not own it. Consequently, some firms occasionally pretend to be private sellers to avoid their legal responsibilities towards customers. If you suspect this has happened to you find out about your rights and what action to take on the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) website https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/ or call 0345 404 0506 to speak to the Citizen Advice consumer helpline.

Guarantee

The length of the manufacturer's guarantee does not limit any claim you may make to the seller as if a product develops a fault outside the guarantee period you can still claim against the seller if you can show that the fault was unreasonable at that period in the products life.

 

You may be asked whether you would like to purchase an extended warranty. Remember that your statutory rights exist, under the Sale of Goods Act, whether or not you choose to buy their warranty and whether or not the goods came with any guarantee. Manufacturers' guarantees are separate from the automatic rights you have against the seller, and may be more limited. For more information read the Citizens Advice Bureau guide to guarantees and warranties.

Maintenance and insurance

For large complex items, such as a stairlift, check what kind of maintenance contract the supplier offers.

Membership of trade associations

Some suppliers are members of a trade association. Many of these trade associations have a code of practice that governs their members' customer service, and thus may help to project you from unscrupulous selling practices. For example, some trade associations prohibit their members from contacting people uninvited to try and sell their products. They may also prohibit their members from using high pressure selling tactics such as offering a discount if you order that day, or phoning their manager while demonstrating the equipment to you to agree a 'special discount/deal'. Thus if you have a choice of suppliers for the product you wish to purchase we recommend you consider the suppliers who are members of trade association.

We record suppliers' membership of several trade associations (see a list of these trade associations) and our ratings give greater weighting to trade associations with codes of practice which are approved by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) (e.g. the British Healthcare Trade Association) or governed by an audit scheme which meets the requirements of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

We also record whether suppliers meet the ISO 9000 series of standards. These standards define a Quality System which certifies that formalised business processes are being applied, and thus may be another indicator to look for if you have a choice of suppliers.

VAT

You may be able to purchase equipment designed for use by disabled people without paying the VAT if you are 'chronically sick or disabled', and you are buying the item/s for your own personal or domestic use. For VAT purposes, a person is 'chronically sick or disabled' if they:

  • Have a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out everyday activities.
  • Have a condition that the medical profession treats as a chronic sickness (e.g. diabetes).
  • Are terminally ill.

 

So, you won't qualify if you're only temporarily disabled or incapacitated (e.g. if you have a broken leg).

Examples of products which are likely to qualify for VAT relief (if intended for the personal or domestic use of a chronically sick or disabled person) include:

 

  • wheelchairs
  • stairlifts
  • computer software or hardware designed specifically for disabled individuals
  • kettle tippers, tap turners, button hooks and similar gadgets or devices that are designed solely to make everyday tasks easier for disabled individuals
  • artificial limbs
  • vehicles that have been adapted for use by a wheelchair or stretcher user

Price

Price is important but, if we list more than one supplier, it is important to look for more than just the cheapest price. Check when the prices were last updated (this should be stated under each price). Consider whether:

  • Postage/delivery is included (if shopping by mail order or online)
  • Is the supplier a member of a trade association? (see below)
  • Is one supplier listing the price with VAT and another without VAT?
  • Check the suppliers' returns policies and any guarantees / warranties (see below).
  • For complex equipment that requires maintenance and/or servicing check what's included in the price and what the ongoing costs will be.

Get advice and an assessment

Experienced therapists or trusted assessors know a lot about products and will help you make sure the product is right for you now and will continue to be suitable in the future. 

 

You may be able to get an assessment and advice from social services. GOV.UK website
Alternatively you may choose to pay for a private occupational therapist. If you wish to request a private appointment with an occupational therapist then you can obtain details of local private occupational therapists from the 'College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section - Independent Practice' (COTSS-IP) website. www.cotss-ip.org.uk or phone their enquiry Line: 0845 129 7699.
You can check whether a therapist is state registered with the Health Care professions Council (HCPC) at www.hcpc-uk.org/audiences/

Try before you buy

You can find out about products and try them out, with independent advice at an Independent Living Centre (ILC). There are about 30 ILCs in the UK. Most do not sell products but they will be able to tell you where to buy them. We recommend you make an appointment before you visit

You could view equipment at an exhibition. They are a good opportunity to see what's available and meet the competing suppliers. The main exhibition of equipment is NAIDEX, held annually at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, and Glasgow. www.naidex.co.uk


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