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Pens and pencils

This section includes devices designed to help an individual to grip writing, drawing or painting equipment.

Holders and grips are designed to fit standard writing or drawing equipment, such as pens and pencils. Grips for paint brushes are also included, as are devices designed to encourage practice and development of handwriting grip. Grips that require very little pressure or are moulded to facilitate grip may help people who have difficulty holding standard pens and pencils.

Weighted pens may help an individual with writing if they have hand tremors or decreased co-ordination. Also included are pens which can have weight added, and pens with a magnetic connection to the writing surface.

Abilitations Abiligrip Grips
Enlarged handgrips for attachment to cutlery, writing and craft implements. Constructed of brightly coloured soft foam.
Arks Butter Grip Writing Aid
Writing aid. Comprises: designed to fit standard pencils, crayons and pens; can be used by right or left hand users; designed by an occupational thera...
Cleverstix Child Development Cutlery
Hinged plastic shafts with finger rings designed to help develop a child's fine motor skills and grip. Comprises: a pair of hinged ABS plastic shafts...
Colour Grip 2001 Pencils
Colouring pencils with triangular barrels and raised resin dots for grip, water-soluble.
Coloured Closed Cell Foam Tubing
Tubular foam to enlarge the diameter of writing implements or utensil handles. Dishwasher safe. Range of colours available.
Comfort Pencil Grips
Soft foam pencil grips, available in a range of colours.
Comfy Pen Grips
Plastic triangular or contoured grip to enlarge the diameter of standard pens or pencils. Available in mixed packs from some suppliers.
Cross Guard Pencil Grips
Pencil and pen grip. Comprises: plastic moulded grip with a finger guard to hold the fingers in position. Suitable for both left and right handed use....
Deluxe Retractable Grip Pencil
Retractable, metal ballpoint pen, with integral rubberised grip. Refills and propelling pencil available.
Dolphin Pencil Grips
Pencil grip. Designed to encourage the hand to maintain a tripod grip. Comprises: ergonomic design; accentuated finger intents; made from silicone; pa...
Easyergo Pencil
Automatic pencil designed to have a larger than standard grip. Options include: left and right-handed versions; range of colours.
Egg Ohs Pencil Grips
Pencil grips. Comprises: egg shaped pencil griper; made from rubber; can help with the development of muscles in the hand used when writing.
Ellie Grip Pen And Pencil Holder
Ellie grip hand glove. Comprises: hand glove with holes for thumb and first finger; designed to aid proper finger positioning when writing and develop...
Etac Contour Pen
Fibre tip cartridge pen, with a wide, contoured and textured plastic shaft. Barrel is hollow and can be weighted with sand. Clip on top.
Gel Grips
Contoured rubberised sleeves designed to enhance grip on writing implements.
Grab On Pen & Pencil Grip
Soft foam sponge pen and pencil grips in a range of colours.
Grippies Pencil Grips
Small, moulded vinyl grip with finger indentations, which slips onto shaft of pencil or pen.
Grippit Holder
Implement holder. Comprises: plastic; short cylinder; circular grip; three sizes. Holds pens, pencils, disposable razors and toothbrushes.
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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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