Some examples of this include:
Housing Grant, Construction and Regeneration Act (1996)
When determining the need for bathing adaptations, the decision more often than not, focuses on whether a bath or shower will be most suitable to meet the client’s ongoing needs. Knowledge of the legislation is essential to understand what work can be carried out using DFG funding.
For example, the Act states that DFGs can be used for ‘Facilitating access by the disabled occupant to, or providing for the disabled occupant, a room in which there is a bath or shower (or both)’.
Therefore, if an individual required a shower to meet specific hygiene needs but a bath for other aspects of occupational engagement such as play, role reinforcement or relaxation, then this is absolutely justifiable. The same could be used where the therapist needs to support the client and family residing in the same property.
Care Act (2014)
The Care Act was a breakthrough piece of legislation that changed focus from physical health to overall wellbeing for social care provision.
The legislation lists nine wellbeing principles including:
- Personal dignity
- Physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing
- Suitability of living accommodation
Although it does not specifically define wellbeing, you should consider aspects of wellbeing beyond just basic activities of daily living. It recognises that wellbeing includes the person’s need to contribute to society and their ability to have control over their day-to-day life. For professionals, the guidance gives them the authority to think more holistically about what contributes to wellbeing.
The Care Act also states that the client is best placed to judge their own wellbeing needs.
Using the wellbeing agenda within recommendations and clearly evidencing the impact on the client is crucial in determining the outcome.
Chronically Sick & Disabled Person Act (1970)
Although superseded by The Care Act for adults, CSDP remains in place for children.
Section 2 lays out a range of services including “assistance with home adaptations, or the provision of additional facilities designed to secure greater safety, comfort or convenience.” How therapists use the terms safety, comfort and convenience to support recommendations can have a big impact on the outcome.
The Children’s Act
Schedule 2 of the Act requires that Local Authorities provide services to minimise the effect of disabilities on children and give such children the opportunity to lead lives which are as normal as possible.
In the context of bathing, which is widely regarded as a normal daily activity for children in the UK, this means that all children (client and their siblings) have the right to bathe.
Although this is not an exclusive list of legislation, it provides an example of how the specific wording, if known, can be used to actively promote positive change, whilst maintaining the occupational therapy philosophy of client centred, holistic and occupation focused intervention.