Cambridge Home Improvement Agency (HIA) is a forward thinking organisation that looks to ensure its customers receive the highest quality care.
In early 2019 they were working with the County Council on a new pathway for simple adaptions that would enable their staff to complete basis assessments following the principles of the RCOT’s paper on “Adaptations with Delay”. This would result in more timely adaptions for the customers and help manage busy Occupational Therapy workloads.
The HIA team comprises of caseworkers and surveyors who work closely with the adaptations officer at Cambridge City Council and specialist housing advisors that sit within the Council’s Adult and Children’s Early Help / OT teams: their primary role is to ensure the suitability of existing housing and support broader wellbeing.
The Cambridge HIA chose to work with the Disabled Living Foundation after meeting them at an OTAC conference. They were impressed with the DLF’s approach to practical activity-based training.
They opted to train 12 caseworkers, surveyors and other learners from the county council at both Trusted Assessor Levels 3 and 4. The training took place in a DLF training venue in London over two days in March and April 2019.
The learners thought the training was challenging but “very good”. They found that the Level 4 course was most relevant to their work they do. They felt the trainers were very knowledgeable and enabled them to think outside of the box as well as to know when to refer onto occupational therapists in more complex cases.
As a result of the training, the new Trusted Assessors are now able to assess for and order minor adaptions and equipment as well as being able to feel more confident when completing adaptations. They have a greater awareness of how certain conditions impact on mobility and how to measure when choosing adaptations.
Cambridge HIA are in the process of implementing this new way of working, however at the time of writing their occupational therapy waiting times were 9–20 weeks. The case workers that attended the training are visiting within seven days. The HIA predict that when fully up to speed, they will be able to reduce their customers’ waiting times by up to 15 weeks or more by having case workers complete more simple assessments. This in turn will increase customer satisfaction and reduce risk.