Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Community Occupational Therapy and Sensory Impairment Team

Who is the service for?

The Community Occupational Therapy and Sensory Impairment Team provide services for anyone who is experiencing difficulties with managing their daily living tasks because of a disability, their age or health. Our Rehabilitation Officer undertakes specialist assessments to look at any specific needs in relation to Sensory Impairment (sight and/or hearing loss).

The service for children with disabilities is generally provided via the NHS Orkney Paediatric Occupational Therapists. We work together where there is a need for more major adaptation works to be carried out. They are based at Peedie Sea Centre at the Glaitness School.

What can it provide?

Members of the team can give information, advice and support to help you be as independent as you can be.

We can help you look at all aspects of your daily living routine and work with you to find ways of overcoming difficulties you may have because of your age, health or disability. This might include how you manage your personal care tasks, coping with your own domestic tasks or finding satisfying ways of spending your work/leisure time depending upon what you feel your priorities are.

If you have additional support needs the Occupational Therapists and the Rehabilitation Officer can also undertake assessments for Self Directed Support and help you to access other services.

You can have a copy of any of your assessments. Copies can be provided in alternative formats on request where required, please just ask.

Information, advice, equipment and adaptations

Many people can be helped to live independently without the need for extra equipment or adaptations for example, learning energy conservation techniques to manage fatigue and improve your ability to carry out important activities or training in techniques to protect your joints to maintain range of movement and reduce strain/further damage or learning new skills to help you cope with a sight loss.

A wide range of equipment is available for long term loan if this is the best way of helping you. Many everyday domestic and personal care items are available in local shops or via the Orkney Disability Forum. Some of these are on show at the Selbro Resource so that you can try out first. Information and advice can also be given about other equipment which we do not supply.

Under the Direct Payments Act (1996) we can make arrangements to make a direct payment for you to purchase specialist equipment you have been assessed as needing. This means that instead of us supplying the equipment, you would buy it yourself. However, we must be satisfied that you needed the equipment and that you are able to manage the direct payment appropriately. Any direct payments that are not used appropriately must be paid back to us.

If, following your assessment, an adaptation is required a member of the Occupational Therapy team can give advice and support for home adaptations to meet disability needs and make a recommendation for the adaptation to be installed. They will work with you and your housing provider (Orkney Islands Council Housing Division, Orkney Housing Association) or Orkney Care and Repair (for private properties) to look at helping you to be as independent as you can be to in your own home.

The process for arranging and funding the adaptation will vary depending on whether it is classed as being a minor or major adaptation and on who owns the property.

Minor adaptations

These are small adaptations that are inexpensive and easily completed. They include the installation of grab rails, external handrails, and banisters. See further information regarding the Minor Adaptations Direct scheme in “frequently asked questions”.

Major adaptations

These adaptations may require altering the structure or fabric of the building. Depending on the work involved, it may require planning permission and / or a building warrant. They include shower installations, permanent ramps and step alterations. A major adaptation can only be recommended if you are assessed as needing it.

Where is it provided?

Someone from the Community Occupational Therapy and Sensory Impairment Team would usually visit you in your own home.

You can also visit the Selbro Resource Centre on Scott’s Road, Hatston, Kirkwall, KW15 1GR without an appointment for general information and advice from an Occupational Therapist, the Rehabilitation Officer for Sensory Impairments or from someone from Care and Repair. The centre is open Wednesday afternoons from 14:00 – 16:00.

How can I request this service?

Anyone can ask to be seen by an Occupational Therapist or the Rehabilitation Officer for Sensory Impairments. Referrals should be made via the Duty Worker for Adult Services on 01856873535 – Monday to Friday 09:00 - 13:00.

Is there a charge?

There is no charge for assessment, information or advice. Essential specialist equipment is also provided free on loan. Adaptations to properties are funded in a variety of ways and sometimes you may have to pay a contribution towards the cost.

How long will I have to wait?

Priority is given to people with an urgent need. If your needs are urgent you will be seen within 5 working days or will be informed otherwise by letter.

How do I return equipment?

If you are no longer using your equipment or you have a problem with it, please contact the Selbro Store (01856873535 ext 2632) to arrange for collection or review.

Frequently Asked Questions:

I am having problems getting in/out of my chair, bed, bath or managing the toilet:

  • Someone from the Occupational Therapy Team can visit you at home. They may be able to make some suggestions or provide some equipment that might help.
  • Referrals should be made via the Duty Worker for Adult Services on 01856873535 – Monday to Friday 09:00 – 13:00.

Can I get help to put in a shower?

  • If you cannot manage your bath you might be eligible for some help to install a shower, or you might prefer equipment so that you can still use your bath.
  • An Occupational Therapist will be able to help look at what is most suitable for your needs.
  • Adaptations to properties are funded in a variety of ways and sometimes you may have to pay a contribution towards the cost.
  • Referrals should be made via the Duty Worker for Adult Services on 01856873535 – Monday to Friday 09:00 – 13:00.

I have nowhere to keep my electric scooter. Can you help?

  • The Council is not able to fund storage space and access improvements for privately purchased scooters.
  • You may be able to seek charitable funding if you are unable to afford these works. Orkney Care and Repair may be able to help you organise a contractor to assist.

I can’t carry things because I use a walking aid. What can I do?

  • A trolley or a zimmer “caddy” might help. Someone from the Occupational Therapy Team can visit to make sure this is a safe option.
  • Referrals should be made via the Duty Worker for Adult Services on 01856873535 – Monday to Friday 09:00 – 13:00.

I need to borrow a commode – can you help?

You need to contact your Community Nurse via your GP Surgery for this.

I want to buy some equipment myself – where can I get it?

  • The Occupational Therapy Team can lend essential specialist equipment to you or can give you information on where to buy things.
  • Orkney Disability Forum has a small stock of domestic, leisure and personal care items – they may also be able to order other items for you.
  • There is a lot of information about equipment and suppliers on the internet.
  • It is usually better to discuss what you think you need with an Occupational Therapist before your buy it if you can. Equipment can be expensive and different things suit different people. Selbro Resource Centre is open every Wednesday pm from 14:00 - 16:00 if you want to speak to an Occupational Therapist or the Rehabilitation Officer for Sensory Impairments direct.

I need to borrow a wheelchair – what should I do?

  • If you need to use a wheelchair a lot you should ask your GP if you can have one of your own. They will refer you for assistance from the Wheelchair Service if you are eligible for help.
  • The Red Cross or Orkney Disability Forum may be able to lend you a wheelchair if they have a suitable one in stock.

I am having problems seeing to read and watch TV, can you help?

  • Our Rehabilitation Officer for people who have a Sensory Impairment can come and see you at home. She can let you try out different equipment to help you see the TV and to read.
  • Referrals should be made via the Duty Worker for Adult Services on 01856873535 – Monday to Friday 09:00 – 13:00.
  • She is also available most Wednesdays open afternoons at Selbro from 14:00 - 16:00 if you want general information. Please phone first if you want to be sure she will be there.

I can’t hear my phone ringing or hear people talking on the phone. I am unable to hear the TV, can you help me?

  • Our Rehabilitation Officer (who works with people who have a Sensory Impairment) can come and see you. She can let you try out different equipment to see if it will help.
  • Referrals should be made via the Duty Worker for Adult Services on 01856873535 – Monday to Friday 09:00 – 13:00.
  • She is also available most Wednesdays from 14:00 - 16:00 at Selbro if you want general information. Please phone first if you want to be sure she will be there.

I need equipment to help me walk. Where can I get it?

You should contact the Physiotherapy department at the Balfour Hospital for this.

My child needs equipment because of a disability, where do I go to get this?

The Paediatric Occupational Therapists at the Peedie Sea Children’s Centre should be asked for advice.

I am having problems getting dressed. Can you help?

Occupational Therapists may have equipment that could help you or they may be able to help you look at different methods to try.

I feel unsafe using my front door – I think a rail would help me. How do I get one?

If you need a minor adaptation you can refer yourself for help to the appropriate agency if you:

  • Are in receipt of state pension and/or you
  • Are in receipt of Attendance Allowance, Disabled Living Allowance or the Personal Independence Payment.

Works Available – (up to a maximum value of £250) are:

  • External handrail x 1 (main entrance)
  • Internal Banister
  • Extending front step x 1 (NB cost sharing may be required where the recent installation of a new door has caused the problem)
  • Reduction of thresholds
  • Rails for level access showers.

For Private Properties (Mainland and Isles) – contact Orkney Care and Repair

For Orkney Housing Association properties – contact Orkney Housing Association

For OIC Council properties – contact the Community OT Team via the Duty Worker for Adult Services on 01856873535 – Monday to Friday 09:00 – 13:00.

I need another banister on my stair; can someone help?

If you need a minor adaptation you can refer yourself for help to the appropriate agency if you:

  • Are in receipt of state pension and/or you.
  • Are in receipt of Attendance Allowance, Disabled Living Allowance or the Personal Independence Payment.

Works Available – (up to a maximum value of £250) are:

  • External handrail x 1 (main entrance).
  • Internal Banister.
  • Extending front step x 1 (NB cost sharing may be required where the recent installation of a new door has caused the problem).
  • Reduction of thresholds
  • Rails for level access showers.

For Private Properties (Mainland and Isles) – contact Orkney Care and Repair.

For Orkney Housing Association properties – contact Orkney Housing Association.

For OIC Council properties – contact the Community OT Team via the Duty Worker for Adult Services on 01856873535 – Monday to Friday 09:00 – 13:00.

I want a ramp at my door – can you help?

  • If you are unable to manage to walk up/down steps and have an NHS wheelchair the Occupational Therapy Team may be able to help.
  • Referrals should be made via the Duty Worker for Adult Services on 01856873535 – Monday to Friday 09:00 – 13:00.

I no longer need my Occupational Therapy equipment. How do I return it?

  • Contact the Selbro Store (01856873535 ext 2632) to organise collection for you or let you know where it can be taken.
  • Please do not take it into the Council Offices as there is nowhere to store it there.

I am having problems managing in the kitchen. Is there any help I can get?

  • Occupational Therapists may be able to lend you specialist equipment to make things easier or suggest different ways of working.
  • Referrals should be made via the Duty Worker for Adult Services on 01856873535 – Monday to Friday 09:00 – 13:00.
  • Orkney Disability Forum has a small stock of domestic, leisure and personal care items – they may also be able to order other items for you.

Can I borrow some equipment for someone who is staying with me on holiday?

  • Basic items can be borrowed for a holiday loan providing they are available in stock.
  • Referrals should be made via the Duty Worker for Adult Services on 01856873535 – Monday to Friday 09:00 – 13:00.

My doctor says I need to raise one end of my bed for health reasons. Who can help?

The Selbro Community Equipment Store is not able to lend equipment to only raise one end of a bed. We would recommend finding some way of raising your mattress (e.g. with a foam wedge) rather than the whole bed frame as this can make the structure unsafe.

Contacts

  • Occupational Therapy Team 01856873535 extension 2632.
  • Selbro Resource Centre 01856873535 extension 2632.
  • Adult Social Work Team 01856873535 extension 2643.
  • NHS Orkney Paediatric Occupational Therapist 01856885590.
  • NHS Orkney Physiotherapy Department 01856888231.
  • Orkney Disability Forum 01856870340.
  • The Red Cross 01856875372.
  • Orkney Care and Repair 01856873369.
  • Orkney Housing Association Ltd 01856875253.