Doctor / GP Letter to County or City Councils
Housing applications to City and County Councils are rated or scored. In some situations where a person’s has a medical condition that impacts on their housing this can give cause for an additional rating or for the rating system to be over rided by giving an applicant an overall medical priority. The doctor’s letter submitted with the housing application is critical to this decision. A doctor within the Council will review a GP and/or Consultant’s letter and make a decision based on the information provided
The doctor’s letter must say a lot more than the fact that a person has a medical condition or disability and requires housing. You can assist your doctor in knowing what to say in his/her letter by clearly explaining the difficulties with your present accommodation and your reasons for needing to move to your own home. The suggested areas that the doctor’s letter would cover would include the following;
- Stating what a person’s disability/medical condition is, how it impacts on their life and housing and if the person is a wheelchair user, manual or powered and needs accessible design. If the person is not a wheelchair user does he/she have any particular accessibility requirements, say in the bathroom or kitchen for example.
- If the person is a wheelchair user say the person will need specific design to suit their access needs as advised by their OT.
- If the doctor has known the person and family for a long time
- That the doctor fully supports the person in their desire to live independently from family……why? …give strong reasons …maybe because "........"
- It is pragmatic, sensible, to plan ahead for housing, as it can take a long time to come about; rather than wait until circumstances may change in the future and there may be no time to plan or choose
- If present accommodation is unsuitable for any reason, say so, i.e. if it is not properly accessible, if the location is not good for independent use of transport/work/training
- State any other reason which might be practical or personal
Also, consider writing you own letter, or sending a letter from your social worker or advocate to accompany your Housing Application Form. This letter would say what sort of housing would suit your needs; independent living (your own place in a housing development) or supported independent living of which there is very little available, but important to name it as a preferred choice. Also again give clear and strong reasons as to why you are applying to be included on the Social Housing List.
Occupational Therapist (OT) Letter to County or City Councils
OT report for housing usually considers all your present and future needs. It will clearly state the inadequacies in your current housing environment and how these impact your independence and quality of life. Recommendations like extra bedroom for PA stay overnight, storage facilities for equipments (hoist, wheelchair etc.) may be relevant to ensure suitability of the house in longer term. There are various specific recommendations viz. kitchen design, washroom design, assistive technology for controlling physical environment (lighting, heating, audio visuals), which will advise and guide the architect/ builder about your specific needs. So, when meeting with OT re housing, you should make sure to discuss all your concerns and possible options.
An OT can be contacted through your local HSE Health Centre. OTs who work in private practice can be located at the Association of Occupational Therapist of Ireland and in the Access Directory at www.accessdirectory.ie
If there is long waiting period for a visit from a HSE OT, consider employing a private OT to write your housing report.