If you’re a Lifetime Care participant or worker in the Workers Care program, we can pay for:
- equipment to assist you with difficulties you are having because of your injury
- home modifications to provide ease of access to your home, kitchen or bathroom
- vehicle modifications to help you get back to full participation in your life and community.
- Your treating team will work with you to determine your equipment and modification needs.
This will typically happen first when you are in hospital, and then reviewed on an ongoing basis as your needs change.
An occupational therapist will also work in consultation with you to identify the home modifications best suited to your circumstances.
What we can pay for depends on your needs, the nature of your injury and your personal circumstances. It also depends on whether you are in the Lifetime Care or Workers Care program. For more information on what we can pay for, see the information sheets below.
How to request equipment
You can choose to manage your equipment needs in consultation with your case manager, or contact your icare coordinator directly.
Some items require a prescription from an allied health professional, such as an occupational therapist or physiotherapist.
What we pay for
Each person’s equipment needs will vary based on the nature of their injury, as well as their goals and personal circumstances. For that reason, we don’t have a definitive list of all types of equipment offered.
We pay for equipment that has been prescribed or recommended by a healthcare professional, and which is required as a result of your injury.
Some examples of what we can pay for are:
- wheelchairs and wheelchair accessories, including seating and wheels
- beds and mattresses
- consumable products including continence, wound care and respiratory equipment
- communication and assistive equipment
- environmental control and home automation equipment
- pressure care equipment
- prostheses, orthoses and walking aids
- equipment for rehabilitation, exercise and fitness
- equipment for recreation and leisure.
We can pay for the maintenance or replacement of equipment provided.
- maintenance and repairs to equipment funded by icare, resulting from normal wear and tear
- routine maintenance as recommended by the manufacturer or to meet industry standards
- adjustments to equipment due to growth
- other changes in your needs.
Changes to your needs
Your equipment needs are likely to change as your goals and needs change over time. Your coordinator, case manager, occupational therapist or other healthcare professional can help you choose the right equipment for your needs and goals.
When you no longer need your equipment
Equipment purchased for you will be available for your use as long as you need it.
It’s important to get in touch with your icare coordinator or case manager when you no longer need your larger items of equipment, such as wheelchairs, exercise machines or beds, as we may be able to retrieve them.
If you have equipment that has been paid for by icare, and this equipment is lost, accidentally damaged or stolen, we need to know straight away.
Insurance may be available for the repair or replacement of the equipment.
More information can be found in our information sheet below.
Types of modifications
For participants in Lifetime Care and workers in Workers Care
Major home modifications are intended to improve accessibility and enable a greater ability to participate in your home and community.
This may include modifications to the entry of your home, such as access ramps or widened doorways, or internal changes to the size and layout of the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen.
Specific requirements will be identified by your occupational therapist.
For attendant care workers
The modifications may or may not include space for support workers, such as space for a bed for the support worker if you need overnight care.
Minor home modifications
A home modification is considered minor if it costs less than $30,000. They don’t usually require structural changes or council approval. It can include rails, ramps and other minor changes like removing a shower hob.
If you need minor home modifications, talk to your icare coordinator or case manager and they can help you find an occupational therapist. The occupational therapist will meet with you, assess your home and make recommendations for home modifications in consultation with you and your family.
Once you agree with the recommendations, the occupational therapist will submit a request to us with quotes.
Major home modifications
Major home modifications are modifications that cost more than $30,000. They usually involve changes to both the inside and the outside of your home and may require council approval.
Your need for home modifications may be identified when you are still in hospital after your injury.
Your icare coordinator and a home modifications officer will meet with you, your family and your treating team to identify what kind of modifications you may need. They’ll also explain how icare can assist and what we can pay for.
If it seems like your home needs major home modifications, a team of specialists will then meet with you and your family and complete an assessment of your home.
Your team consists of a building modifications occupational therapist and building modifications project manager who are selected from an icare panel, as well as an icare home modifications officer.
The occupational therapist will assess your needs for home modifications and recommend specific types of modifications for you and your family to consider.
Once you agree with the recommendations, the occupational therapist will complete a report and the project manager will develop a scope of works with estimated costings. These are sent to icare to make a decision.
When the recommendations are approved, the project manager will organise quotes from builders to complete the modifications which will be sent to us for final approval. All home modifications must be approved by us before commencing.
Our home modifications officer will meet with you, your family and the project manager and builder during the build to ensure the work is progressing to standard.
When the modifications are complete, an occupational therapist will meet with you, your family and the project manager to check the work has been completed as expected, and that the changes will meet your needs.
Making major changes to your home is a big decision that you or your family may not feel ready to undertake in the early stages following an injury.
Given the unpredictable nature of some injuries, we also know that what’s recommended today might not be right for you in 12 months’ time.
Depending on your needs, and based on the recommendations of the building modifications occupational therapist, we can offer temporary solutions such as:
- minor modifications
- portable shower and bathroom units.
These can enable you to live in your home while you decide on the rest of the modifications to be completed at a later date, or while the modifications are being completed.
Alternatives to home modifications
There are some scenarios when major home modifications may not be possible, or they may not be considered reasonable for your circumstances.
For example, when there are complex and multiple access problems (such as multi story homes), when a property is an illegal dwelling or when the cost of modifications are likely to exceed the value of your home.
We also may not be able to complete modifications on rental properties. This can depend on the length of your lease and whether the property owner agrees to the modifications.
If it’s not considered reasonable to modify your home, we’ll work closely with you to find the best alternative. We can support you in finding somewhere else to live, and cover certain costs involved in selling and buying your home.
In addition to that, we’ll also consider paying for home modifications to your new home.
Eligibility for vehicle modifications
We can pay for vehicle modifications if you have difficulty driving or being transported in a vehicle because of your injury. To be eligible for vehicle modifications, you need to:
- have a physical, sensory and/or cognitive disability as a result of your motor accident or workplace injury that prevents you from safely driving, accessing or travelling as a passenger in an unmodified vehicle
- require modifications to a vehicle in order to get in and out, drive, be transported safely or to transport a wheelchair
- own or have access to a motor vehicle on a regular basis or you are planning to buy a vehicle to be modified
- have a medical certificate which gives you medical clearance to return to driving and which supports the modification of your vehicle being required because of your injury
- have been assessed by a driver trained occupational therapist certified by the State’s Driver Licensing Authority, the Roads and Maritime Services NSW (RMS)
- have a current and valid driver’s licence and be legally able to drive.
We will need to assess the costs of vehicle modifications and may require reports and quotes from mechanics, suppliers of parts and equipment and other service providers regarding the modifications.
How it works
If you need vehicle modifications, talk to your icare coordinator or case manager.
You’ll need to have an assessment with a specialist driver trained occupational therapist and obtain a certificate from a medical practitioner confirming that you are medically cleared to return to driving.
If you don’t have a car, the occupational therapist can advise you on suitable vehicles types and models, and may be able to help you work out what’s best for your circumstances. If you do have a car, we can only pay for modifications if the car is considered reliable and roadworthy.
The occupational therapist will discuss options with you and arrange trials to work out the most simple and cost effective option to meet your needs.
Once the most appropriate modifications are determined, the occupational therapist will write a report and make recommendations regarding what modifications should be made to your vehicle. They’ll also recommend whether driving lessons would be appropriate. The cost of your driving lessons can also be covered by us.
We’ll then make a decision about whether the requested modifications meet our criteria for funding.
What we can pay for
Vehicle modifications we can pay for include:
- adapted controls to assist with steering assistance, acceleration and braking
- hoists and ramps to enable wheelchair access
- automatic transmission to change gears
- changes to parking brakes, rear vision mirrors, seat belts or indicators.
If we have funded vehicle modifications, we may also pay for the cost of getting a blue slip, and any additional insurance costs directly related to the modification of your vehicle.
We’ll also pay for the maintenance, repair and replacement of approved modifications to your vehicle. If you buy a new car, we can pay for the modifications to be transferred to your new car or pay to have your new car modified.
We can pay for modifications once every eight years, unless your needs change to the extent that you can’t use your modified vehicle anymore.
What we do not pay for
You’re responsible for general maintenance and all running costs of the vehicle, including registration, insurance and fuel.
You’re also responsible for making sure the vehicle complies with safety and road-worthiness standards.
We can’t pay for:
- modifications that don’t comply with the Australian Standards, Australian design rules or current “Assessing Fitness to Drive” national medical standards
- modifications to a motor vehicle for a need/condition that you had prior to the motor vehicle or workplace injury
- modifications that have no clear or sustained benefit to you
- costs to convert the vehicle back to its standard configuration once major modifications have been paid by us
- modifications completed outside of Australia
- repairs covered by supplier’s warranty, including vehicle modifier warranty or vehicle’s insurance policy
- cancellation fees for non-attendance at driving lessons as part of the driving program.
For driver modifications, we also can’t pay for:
- vehicle modifications if you are not medically cleared to drive and licensed to drive with an endorsed licence
- vehicle modifications if you have been assessed as unsafe to drive.