Changing Rooms: the Impact of Adaptations on the Meaning of Home for a Disabled Person and the Role of Occupational Therapists in the Process

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Accessible housing is crucial both to enable the implementation of community care and to assist in giving disabled people equal rights to independent living. In order to meet these demands, occupational therapists often play a key role in recommending adaptations to the home environment. Although there can be important benefits in this process, the meaning of home to the disabled person and his or her family can be overlooked and compromised by the changes that occur to it.

It is suggested that in order to redress this balance, the social model of disability should be applied to the assessment process. This would result in a more holistic view of the environmental barriers faced by the disabled person within his or her home and a deeper understanding of the wider meaning of home to the disabled person and the family. The provision of adaptable housing, such as Lifetime homes, is also considered as a way of minimising the need for home adaptations in the longer term. A broader role for the occupational therapist within the framework of the social model is discussed.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2002

More about this publication?
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT) is the official journal of the College of Occupational Therapists. Its purpose is to publish articles relevant to theory, practice, research, education and management in occupational therapy internationally.

    BJOT publishes research articles, critical reviews, practice analyses, opinion pieces, editorials, letters to the editor, book reviews and an annual index. Please refer to the author's guide at

    Submissions can be made at

    The 2013 Impact Factor for The British Journal of Occupational Therapy is 0.897.

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