There is a wide range of equipment and technology available that you can use in the home or when you are out and about to make life easier and help you keep safe and independent. This includes helping you move around the home, get in and out of the bath or help you contact someone for support.
If you are not sure what you need, you can use our self-assessment website: https://millbrook.store/Somersetselfassessment/default.aspx
The website will ask a series of questions about how you are managing with daily living tasks and will suggest some items of equipment that you can buy to meet your needs based on your answers. You can’t buy equipment directly from the website but it is available online or from your local mobility shop.
You can find some helpful videos that provide advice and show the range of equipment available in our helpful YouTube channel
Assistive Technology or Telecare
There are many other products available to support people to live as independently as possible at home. These products are often known as ‘Telecare’ or ‘Assistive Technology’.
Technology can remind and inform people, and their carers, about things that need to be done around the home, such as taking medicines on time. It can alert a family member or carer that a person has got out of bed at night and needs assistance. Or, it may alert a monitoring centre that something has happened and appropriate action should be taken.
This website will also give you ideas and suggestions of what is available to help you in your home or when you’re out and about.
Community alarm services (Lifelines)
In Somerset, community alarm services are available through district councils – see below for contact details. Community alarms (or Lifelines) can provide a device that sits between your phone and its socket point, and an alert button that you wear. When the button is pressed, an alert is directed to a call centre that will respond instantly. The centre can speak to you even if you are not near the phone, but this will only happen when the button is pressed. Additional alerts can be added to the system, including smoke alarms, door exits sensors and heat alarms.
Carer pagers are available to alert a family member or friend of a sensor being triggered. This can be particularly helpful and reassuring if you have returned home after being in hospital. The right equipment and assistive technology can make all the difference to feeling safe and getting your confidence and independence back after an illness or accident.
If you would like to talk with someone, phone your local Community Alarm Service provider for more information about Telecare sensors and the relevant charges:
Independence and Advice Centres
Advice and guidance on equipment is available to support people with their daily living needs. There is an opportunity to try out equipment. If you are eligible to be provided with equipment from our community equipment service, an order is made so that you can collect it straight away, or it might be delivered if necessary. If it is agreed that you need a follow up Occupational Therapy home visit, this can be arranged.
We have two Independence and Advice Centres (IAC) which you can visit free of charge. We are committed to providing and maintaining a safe environment for you to visit in line with Government Covid-19 regulations. We will tell you about these changes to keep you safe when you book your appointment at either of our two centres.
Somerset Independence Plus Centre
Chelston Business Park
Independence and Advice Centre
Opening times – by appointment only
Tuesday to Thursday 9.30am to 4pm
To book an appointment for an IAC, please phone 0300 123 2224. We will give you full directions with your appointment confirmation.
An occupational therapist’s assessment can give advice and information to help you stay as independent as possible. This could include advice about equipment and alterations to your home to help you and your carer manage more easily.
We may be able to help you if you:
- normally live in Somerset
- have difficulty managing everyday tasks because of a physical disability or illness, or
- you are a carer.
We will talk with you to understand what could help you. We may be able to give you advice and information on the phone. Sometimes, someone from adult social care may need to come and see you to make sure we give you the best advice. This is called an assessment.
If your assessment shows that you need equipment, for example, a hoist and sling or minor works such as stair rails, we will provide them free of charge.
You may need major alterations to your home, such as putting in a stair-lift or wet-floor shower. If this is the case. we will ask the District Council to consider you for a Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG). They will ask you for information about your finances and you may have to pay towards the cost of the work. Adaptations that can be considered for a Disabled Facilities Grant include
- Access – widening doorways for wheelchairs
- Bathroom adaptations
- Fixed overhead hoists
- Lifts – stairlifts or through-floor lifts
- General alterations, including permanent ramps
Buying or borrowing equipment
You can buy some equipment that might help you from local shops that specialise in disability equipment. There are also some local voluntary organisations and private providers that sell equipment. The Somerset Community Connect website gives lots of information about equipment available locally.
Equipment for short-term loan is available through the British Red Cross, and is ideal if you need some equipment temporarily, for example, to try something out before you buy it. You can find out more by phoning 01823 273746, or visit their website.
Please see the Accessing the Somerset Wheelchair Service information sheet.
Repairs and returning equipment
If the equipment you have on loan needs to be repaired, please phone our equipment provider, Millbrook on 0333 003 2407 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You should also contact them if you have equipment you no longer need, to arrange for it to be returned free of charge.
Community Healthcare equipment appeal
Thank you for the fantastic response to our appeal for the return of community healthcare equipment, which helps us to continue supporting people in these difficult times.
The Community Equipment Service supports over 14,000 customers in Somerset, and has had 33,000 deliveries or collections in the last year.
Why we are asking for equipment to be returned
We appeal for equipment to be returned because although all equipment is recorded when issued to a person, unfortunately we are not always informed when equipment is either moved or no longer needed.
Recycling used equipment
In Somerset we recycle over 80% of equipment returned. Some equipment cannot be recycled due to it being very old, or that it would cost us more to collect, decontaminate and reissue – an example of this is a walking stick.
If you have a smaller item that you would like to return we ask that you wait till lockdown is over, and when you can return them to the Millbrook depot.
Donating equipment to charity
Equipment which we no longer use due to changes to how we support people, is offered to charitable organisations who use these items in other countries.
Any equipment which we collect that cannot be reused or recycled is checked by us and then either scrapped, recycled or disposed of.
If you want to return an item, but cannot wait at home all day for it to be picked up
We are working with Millbrook about providing dedicated appointments for collections as we know it’s difficult for people to wait in all day, but cannot offer this at present due to the demands on the service supporting discharges from hospital.
However, if you are not at home for the collection you can leave the equipment outside your home for collection (excluding electrical items) or return it yourself when lockdown is over and it is safe to do so.
We’d like to thank everyone who has returned equipment – we really appreciate your support.
Somerset West and Taunton – Deane Helpline
Website – https://www.somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk/deane-helpline/
Website – https://www.mendip.gov.uk/article/9342/Help-to-live-independently
Website – https://www.sedgemoor.gov.uk/lifeline
South Somerset Careline
Website – https://www.southsomerset.gov.uk/services/careline/