Creating a wheelchair accessible property

The feature demonstrates what can be done to create a high specification home, with adaptations to enable a wheelchair user to be independent. In this case, the client sustained an incomplete spinal injury and uses a wheelchair for most of his mobility needs. Therefore the property needed to be suitable to accommodate these new needs. His previous property has steps to access it and was difficult to get around so he was not able to be independent.
He obtained this bungalow, which was in a state of disrepair, but this meant he had a blank canvas, and could change it to meet his needs and wishes. As an OT, I met with the client and discussed his future goals for when he moved into the property. I then visited the property to look at the potential. I also met with the architect and building firm working here. We met regularly throughout the process to ensure everything was going to plan and the client’s needs were being met.

What was created:

Access:

All entrances are ramped to enable the client to use them with his wheelchair or scooter independently.
The front door has an electric door opener and intercom system. This enable the client to open, close and lock the door with the push of a button on a fob. Therefore, there is no fiddly opening the door from his wheelchair. The intercom allows him to give people access into his home without having to go to the front door. He can speak to them and grant them access if he wishes.

Doors:

All the doors are widened to enable easy use of a wheelchair around the property.

Kitchen:

The kitchen has an adjustable height work surface which incorporates the sink and hob. The enables the client to lower the surface with the press of a button to the ideal height for him to work at from his wheelchair. Carers or family can then raise it to a suitable height for them if they are using it.
The oven is wall mounted at a suitable height for the client to use from his wheelchair. The door folds out and then slides under the oven to enable to client to get close to the oven when removing hot dishes. There is also a pull out shelf under the oven, which is can pull out to place dishes etc on. He can push his wheelchair underneath this to get as close as possible.
There is a pull out larder, which means the shelves come out so that he does not have to reach right into the back of the cupboard. There is also a pull out corner cupboard for the same reason.

Bedroom and Ensuite:

His bedroom is large enough to enable him to get around in his wheelchair with no obstacles. The ceilings have been prepared in case he requires a ceiling track hoist in the future, so they can be easily fitted.
His bathroom has a closomat toilet. This is a toilet which he is able to transfer directly onto or sit on his shower chair and push himself over the toilet. The toilet has a button he can press which will activate the washing and drying facility. This now enables the client to use the toilet fully independently without any assistance from carers. This is important with such a personal task.
There is a height adjustable bath, with a bath seat (not yet shown in pictures as not fitted at the time). The bath seat will raise and swivel with the push of a button, and lower client into the bath. If he requires assistance with bathing, the carers can raise the height of the bath so that they are not bending over.
There is a level access shower. This means there are no steps or ledges to trip on. The client can wheel in on his shower chair and proceed to shower with no difficulties.

Although this client still does have carers for assistance with certain tasks, this new property has given him much more independence and is built to a specification that he chose and will now live in for a long time into the future.

New bedroom extension being built