Help Living at Home

Staying Independent at Home

Occupational Therapy

Our Occupational Therapy Team helps people with disabilities of all ages to be as independent as possible in their everyday lives. Sometimes, the things we take for granted in daily life such as getting in and out of the bath, on/off the toilet or armchairs can become difficult. We will visit you in your home, or invite you to one of our Assessment Clinics, to see what we can do to help you with your safety and independence.

How Can the Occupational Therapy team benefit you?

  • We will work with you to help you find a new way of doing a task such as preparing a meal or drink, dressing and personal hygiene, getting in, out and around your home.

  • Providing equipment to help your daily living.

  • Providing small adaptations such as grab rails.

  • Arranging big adaptations such as ramps or stairlifts.

  • Working with your carer to offer them advice in the best way to support you.

  • With your consent, we can help guide you to relevant services who may be able to help.

Am I eligible?

  • People who live in the Doncaster area.

  • People who are permanently disabled.

  • Residents who have significant difficulties in their daily life and want to be more independent.

  • Carer/s for a disabled person/s and who are going through difficulties.

How do I apply?

Firstly, please get in touch. You can do this yourself, or get someone like a friend, relative or any health or social care professional to contact us. If you have a sensory impairment, please contact the Adult Sensory Team. We will contact you as soon as we can to arrange a clinic appointment or a home visit.

We will then look at the information you give us to decide if we can help. If so, we will then contact you to arrange a clinic appointment or a home visit.

You can call the team on 01302 737391.

For more information on the Adult Sensory Team, including how to contact them, please see the main Doncaster Council website.

What is an assessment?

A member of the Occupational Therapy team will look at how you manage with everyday activities. Together with you, and your carer, we will work out what meets your needs. The assessment usually takes about an hour. If English is not your first language, we can arrange for an interpreter to be there.

After the assessment, we will send you a written summary of what is agreed.

If your needs change or you move house, please contact the Adult Social Care and Wellbeing team on 01302 737391.

Is there a charge?

The assessment and small adaptations are free of charge. Any equipment provided will be on a long-term loan, also free of charge.

You may be eligible for a Disabled Facilities Grant towards the cost of big adaptations. This is a means-tested grant and you may need to pay a fee. We will explain how this works.

If you are a council tenant, adaptations will be free of charge.

Frequently asked questions on Occupational Therapy

Why do I need an assessment? Can’t you just supply me with the equipment?

There are lots of ways to help people deal with the problems they are having. This could be doing the activity a different way, supplying equipment, getting help or having things like a stair lift or a second banister rail in your home. The assessment decides exactly what you need to help with your personal problem.

Why do I have to come to a clinic? Can’t you come out and see me at home?

A clinic is held at the Stirling Centre for people who might need equipment and/or minor adaptations such as grab rails. There is a very high demand for this service and the clinic was set up so that we could help people more quickly. If there is a reason why you are unable to come to the clinic, you will be offered a home visit.

Do you provide walking sticks and walking frames?

No, you would need to ask your doctor to refer you to Physiotherapy.

Do you provide wheelchairs?

No, you would need to ask your doctor to refer you to the Wheelchair Service.

Where am I on the waiting list and when will I be seen?

We receive 80 to 100 referrals a week and decide how quickly they will be seen based on:

  • the person’s medical condition,
  • what they need help with
  • whether there is any risk of injury to the person or their carer.

As we cannot predict the types of referrals that we receive, we cannot give people an idea of when they will be seen. However, if you feel that your condition has changed or your needs have increased, then please contact us and we will look again at your request.

If you no longer need our service, then please contact the team on 01302 737391 and let us know.

How do I get to speak to my Occupational Therapist?

Please ring  01302 736000. When told to, please dial zero and say the name of the person you want to speak to. You will be automatically put through.

Can I arrange to have some unwanted equipment collected?

Please ring NRS, our equipment store, on 0300 100 0243 to arrange this.

My equipment is not working – how do I get it replaced?

Please ring NRS, our equipment store, on 0300 100 0243 to arrange for replacements to be provided.

The equipment I was issued no longer meets my needs. What should I do?

Please contact us on 01302 737391 to make a new referral to our service.

When will my stair lift/shower/rails be fitted?

Please ring our Adaptations Team on 01302 737388 or 01302 735757.

Can I have a dropped kerb as it is hard to park in my street?

We sometimes recommend dropped kerbs for people who face difficulty walking, but you would have to have an assessment by one of our Occupational Therapists who would decide whether you qualified for this.

If the only problem is difficulty in parking on your street, we would not provide a dropped kerb. However, you could contact Highways via 01302 736000 to see whether you could fund this yourself.

Can I have a ramp for my mobility scooter?

We would consider this for people who are full-time wheelchair users or where the person is unable to walk even short distances and/or manage steps safely, but you would have to be assessed by one of our Occupational Therapists.

My shower is finished; how do I get a shower seat?

Please contact your Occupational Therapist who will order this for you.

Can I have an adaptation such as a level access shower or a ramp removed from my St Leger home?

You would have been allocated an adapted property because this meets your needs. Adaptations will therefore not be removed.

 Technology to Keep you Safe

Currently, there are many different types of technology available that people can use (often with help from relatives) to stay independent, safe and well. Take a look at the examples below for some inspiration:

  • Susan uses a GPS tracker on her phone so that her family know where she is if she gets into difficulty when out walking.
  • Carol uses a robotic vacuum cleaner to help her clean her flat.
  • John uses a smart speaker to give him timed reminders to take his medication.
  • Helen has a clock which tells her the day and whether it’s morning, afternoon or evening which helps her not to get confused.
  • Alice enjoys using a virtual reality headset to explore the world – she finds that it distracts her from the pain that she experiences due to a condition she is living with.
  • George uses an app on his phone which describes the things that can be seen through the camera lens – as he is blind it can help him pick which clothes to wear or identify products in a supermarket.
  • Tom and his family use an app which helps them organise the care for his mum, it helps them to schedule their time to make sure that his mum’s needs are met.

Pendant Alarms

Some people benefit from the reassurance of a pendant alarm that can be worn around the neck inside the home. A person can press the button in an emergency which will trigger a phone call to our call centre. A sensitive microphone allows the person to talk to our friendly staff who are trained to decide on the best cause of action and to deal with emergencies quickly and efficiently. If a person has fallen and is unable to get up, the next of kin or a trained responder may attend to help the person and ensure they are ok (this is dependent on the package selected).

The pendant alarm service is available as two options: 

  • Option 1: Home alarm service, including equipment, maintenance and call handling service, where call handlers will contact your nominated family or friends for assistance or organise the appropriate emergency service response. This service is at a cost of £3.64 plus VAT per week. 
  • Option 2: Response Service, where the Council’s trained officers (responders) will come to your property to help you. This service is an add on service and is only available in addition to option 1, at an additional cost of £1.50 plus VAT per week.  (Therefore this package costs £5.14 per week).

All charges are payable per user quarterly in advance by Direct Debit.

All you need to start the service is a telephone socket that is able to make outgoing calls and a nearby electrical outlet (within 2 meters of it). The equipment will be set up for you and no drilling or electrical works are required.

To apply for a pendant alarm please complete the form below or call 01302 862164. Once we receive your application form we will contact you to arrange a convenient delivery date. We do not charge for the delivery and set up of your pendant alarm however there is a fee for the replacement of lost or damaged equipment.

For additional information, please see the Doncaster Council website

Additional Sensors and Assistive Technology

Some people will benefit from additional sensors and assistive technology such as falls detectors, movement sensors and flood/gas detectors. In order to receive this additional equipment an assessment must be carried out by a social work professional, Occupational Therapist, STEPS Team or trusted referrer. Contact us for more information on whether an assessment is appropriate.

Help with home and garden maintenance

To find local support charities search our community directory for support with your housework and gardening. You could also benefit from Doncaster Repair and Support Service who carry out minor repairs and maintenance jobs for elderly and disabled people who are cannot do the job themselves and who don't have anyone to help them. There is no charge for the work they do, but materials will have to be supplied by the person who is getting the work done.

Find out more about the Doncaster Repair and Support Service on the Doncaster Council website

How do I access the service?

Please contact us, or ask your health or social services professional or a friend to contact the service for you.

Once you have been referred, we will make arrangements for a call handler to call and deal with the problem where possible. All our workers carry an identification card, which will be shown to you when they arrive. Always ask to see identification before you let anyone into your home.

Finding a Personal Assistant

Personal assistants (PAs) are employed to help people who need social care support, either because of their age or disability, to enable them to live as independently as possible in their home.

The Direct Payment Support Team can support you to set things up, such as working out a rate you would like to pay, Terms and Conditions and Job Descriptions . It's also a good idea to write a job description and, if you feel comfortable doing so, a covering letter for the job that you're advertising. 

If you need some help or advice in recruiting a personal assistant, contact the Direct Payments Support Team on -

For more information and general guidance on employing a personal assistant, see the Skills for Care website.

How to advertise for a Personal Assistant and interview

  • Advertise your requirements: unless you already know who you want to employ, think about placing your advert in the local newspaper and on job recruitment sites.
  • Decide which applicants meet the requirements of your job: you can ring the Direct Payment Support Team if you are having difficulty with this. Their contact details can be found at the top of this page.
  • Interview your chosen applicants: ask everyone the same questions and make notes. Don't forget to ask for proof of legal entitlement to work in the UK. You can also give the successful candidate a call but you must also offer the job in writing. 
  • Carry out checks for the successful candidate: you should send for 2 references (one should always be from a previous job) and think about having a DBS (police) check done.

How to employ a Personal Assistant

You might have to think about any training your chosen PA might need before they start work. The Direct Payment Support Team can give information about free training. It's good practice to meet your PA before they start to show them the ropes and introduce them to other staff. Remember - employer's liability insurance must be taken out, by law, before your PA starts work. 

Don't forget to give your PA terms and conditions of employment and have regular meetings with your PA. Remember, please take advice before dismissing staff to make sure you do it correctly.

Reducing your risk of falling

As you get older, your risk of falling increases. Even if you're still active, you could have poor eyesight, slower reaction times, a weaker body, or problems with your balance - all of which can lead to accidents or falls.

Tips to stop you from falling

  • Keep your home clutter and obstacle free, especially stairs, so you can move around easily.

  • Use high wattage bulbs to provide good lighting.

  • Wear well-fitting shoes or slippers.

  • Get help if you need to lift something heavy.

  • Do gentle exercise to improve your balance and muscle strength.

  • Have regular health and eye tests.

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of calcium to keep your bones strong.

What to do if you fall

  • If you fall when you're alone, get help and keep yourself warm.

  • If you're worried about getting help, you may want to get a community alarm that you can wear around your neck or wrist. Pressing the alarm will alert response centre staff and they'll ring you to see what's wrong.

  • When you next see your doctor or nurse, tell them about your fall. They can check whether a health problem is causing you to fall and if it's likely to happen again. If it is, they may give you medication to improve your condition.

  • Make sure you tell your family that you've had a fall so that they can keep an eye on you and make sure you get any treatment you might need.

 Direct Payments

What are Direct Payments?

Direct Payments are a different way of arranging the support you need when you need it.  Instead of receiving a service from the council, a direct payment is money the Council can give you to buy support.

Why choose a Direct Payment?

Direct payments give you flexibility and control over your own life. You are able to choose what services you use, when you need them, and who you are getting them from.

What support can I buy with a Direct Payment?

Support will mean different things to different people. Your support plan will be completed following a conversation with a Social Care worker who will discuss how your support needs can be met. Here are some examples of how you could use a direct payment:

  • To get support from a place or team of people within your local community – this could be a day centre, a community team, or organisations where you live.

  • To get support with personal tasks like washing and dressing. This might include employing a Personal Assistant to support you to maintain your independence.

  • To get support to live in your own home and carry out tasks like cooking, cleaning, and managing your money.

  • To purchase equipment such as specialist sensory aids.

  • To get out and about, such as driving to see friends, pursuing hobbies, attending events within the community or going on holiday.

  • To get support with parenting duties, such as enabling you to take your children to school 

Where can I get more information on receiving a Direct Payment?