Equipment for Older or Disabled People and the Law

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This comprehensive book explains the provision, both law and practice, of equipment and home adaptations to assist older or disabled people in daily living. Characterised by ill-defined statutory responsibilities and terminology, and an under-developed consumer retail market, the system of provision has long been recognised as chaotic and confusing for professionals and public alike. This is despite the fact that equipment and adaptations are meant to be a central plank of community care.

Necessarily wide-ranging but maintaining its focus, the book aims critically to describe the system and thereby promote better practice. By exploring boundaries and breaking points of the system, it will also assist people to understand the law when things go wrong - from negligence to judicial review, and from contract to product safety legislation. Providing both overviews and extensive details, and so capable of use on various levels, the book will be indispensable to managers and practitioners in statutory services (social services, the NHS, housing, education and employment), advice agencies, voluntary organisations, manufacturers and suppliers, educational institutions, and lawyers.

The range of items covered is great, from alarms to artificial limbs, baths to bedrooms, chopping boards to crutches, electronic toothbrushes to environmental controls, hearing aids to hoists, incontinence pads to ironing equipment, rails to ramps, speech aids to stairlifts, and walking frames to wheelchairs.

Part I summarises provision and picks out main themes - including conflicts, contradictions and anxieties - emerging from a complex web of legislation, common law, guidance, everyday practices, complaints procedures, ombudsmen, formal legal remedies, broader welfare and consumer issues, and interaction of the public, private and voluntary sectors. It is pointed out that the rationing and fragmentation of welfare services, proliferation of community care legislation and guidance, and implementation of European Community Directives have merely added to the complexity.

Part II explains systematically and in detail how, and on what legal basis, equipment and adaptations are provided by statutory services for people's social care, health care, housing, education and employment needs. Also covered is provision for people in residential and nursing homes.

Spanning disparate areas of law, Part III illustrates what happens when things go wrong - outlining the law of negligence, and contractual issues arising about price, quality and `fitness of purpose' when people buy their own equipment. It discusses increasingly prominent European Community Directives and UK Regulations which impose legal liability in relation to defective products, lifting and handling, medical devices and general product safety. Both judicial review by the law courts and investigations by the ombudsmen are described, crucial remedies when people challenge - or statutory services defend - assessments, service delivery and rationing.

Finally, Part IV lists, A-Z, equipment types from Air beds to Writing equipment, detailing what they are, how they are provided and by whom.
  • Published: Jul 01 1996
  • Pages: 600
  • 233 x 159mm
  • ISBN: 9781853023521
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Press Reviews

  • Therapy Weekly

    Michael Mandelstam, in his book Equipment for Older or Disabled People and the Law, aims to help people understand the law when problems loom, "by exploring boundaries and breaking points - from negligence to judicial review and from contract to product safety legislation".
  • Disability and Society

    Michael Mandelstam has written an extremely well researched and, generally, very readable book on a previously ignored area of law... whilst Mandelstam does offer a capable legal exposition, he manages to do so without compromising clarity or academic integrity. Mandelstam adopts a uniform approach to the beginning of each chapter by providing summary information under the heads of:"coverage", "key points" and "questions people ask". Students, in particular, should find this format aids the comprehension and revision process and it is this readership that I would particularly like to see utilising this valuable resource... Mandelstam's explanation of the law relating to negligence, product safety, contracts and judicial review of statutory services, provides an insightful introduction to some potentially complicated principles, without becoming either trite or overly complex... Equipment for Older or Disabled People and the Law provides a detailed and well-informed critique of current provision... I particularly commend this book to the ministers who will seek to implement a new agenda for Britain, an agenda in which disabled people demand to be included.
  • British Journal of Occupational Therapy

    The author manages competently the awesome task of explaining legal concepts within an easily accessible format... From the occupational therapists' viewpoint, the book is indispensable for clarifying work in the assessment, recommendation and provision of equipment at a time when complaints and litigation are on the increase.
  • Journal of Social Work Practice

    a fascinating book to read and a useful, daily reference guide.
  • The British Journal of Occupational Therapy

    This is a book that every manager should read and consider. It is essential for all occupational therapists who are involved in teaching manual handling to others. Back care advisers may be familiar with some of the cases, but this text provides a comprehensive summary of the case law on manual handling issues and should be at their right hand when drafting policies and procedures that comply with the regulations.