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10.3.2 Issues to be considered when assessing reasonableness
When reviewing requests for alterations, modifications, aids and/or appliances to be provided through the rehabilitation provisions, the following issues are to be considered:
- whether, based on an assessment from a suitably qualified health provider, the client has an assessed need for the item or service due to their accepted conditions;
- whether, as a result of the client’s impairment and based on professional advice from the client’s treating practitioners, Specialist, Occupational Therapist, Physiotherapist, Podiatrist or other allied health providers, the item or service is required:
- to help a client achieve an agreed rehabilitation goal;
- to promote recovery (e.g. to help alleviate pain);
- to provide remedial support for the client’s accepted condition;
- to help ensure the client’s personal safety; and/or
- to assist clients to gain greater independence and work towards self managing the impact of their accepted condition(s); and
- whether the items or services will have a positive impact on the client’s:
- quality of life – mobility, independence, community engagement, and maintenance of physical and emotional wellbeing; and/or
- general functioning, and/or
- capacity to return to, or perform at work, or to undertake retraining or study.
As rehabilitation authority, DVA has the responsibility to ensure that a client has access to appropriate aids and appliances to meet their needs. This applies regardless of what type of rehabilitation support the person is receiving.
Requests for assessment for, and provision of, workplace aids and appliances must therefore be considered, regardless of whether the client is already employed in either the public service or private enterprise. This particularly applies where a client’s employment is in jeopardy due to the impact of their accepted conditions. Further details about the provision of workplace aids and appliances can be found in section 10.7.4 of the Rehabilitation Policy Library.
Clients undertaking psychosocial rehabilitation activities may need access to adaptive or other types of equipment to enable them to participate in community activities, such as leisure/lifestyle and sporting activities and programs or short adult learning courses. It is important that a lack of appropriate equipment does not create a barrier to a person being able to participate in these types of activities. Further details about the provision of equipment to support participation in psychosocial rehabilitation activities can be found in section 6.7 of the Rehabillitation Policy Library.
There may be instances where clients request a different aid to that recommended by the Occupational Therapist (OT) or other suitably qualified health professional. For example, an OT may recommend a shower chair to assist a client with bathing, grooming etc. The client may, for aesthetic reasons, ask that a stool be provided instead. In these circumstances, Rehabilitation Coordinators must contact one of the department's Occupational Therapy Advisers, for their opinion on whether the requested alternative aid is likely to create a health and safety risk, or be unsuitable for the client's needs, given their accepted conditions. DVA Rehabilitation Coordinators can access the list of the department's Advisers from the rehabilitation pages of the Rehabilitation and Compensation support site under "Adviser Work Order Information".
Rehabilitation Coordinators must take the OT Adviser's feedback into account when deciding whether to approve purchase of the client's requested item, and document the reasons for their decision in the determination letter to the client.