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Occasional Research Papers

HMinfo Occasional Research Papers are individually commissioned research papers on existing or emerging issues in home design and home modifications for older people, for people with disability, or for carers. Read more

Occasional Research Paper Search


Caring for the Carer: Home design and modification for carers of young people with disability

Authors: Adams, T., Bridge, C., Davy, L.
Published: 31st July 2014
Audience: Authors, Consumers, Government/NGOs/Peaks, Industry, Librarians/Researchers/Students
ISBN: 978-0-7334-34


This paper considers the design requirements of carers of young people with disability. Most young people with disability live in the home of their carer for extended periods of their life and some never leave.  Although the issue of young people with disability and care has been well explored, there is a paucity of research concerning the home environment and how it does or does not support the role of caring. When it has previously been explored, this has usually been about the home as a workplace for paid careworkers, and not about the home and workplace of the unpaid carer or other occupants. Home modification interventions can offer carers of young people with disability greater comfort and wellbeing and may better support the caring relationship in the longer term. The research questions that framed this systematic explorative literature search and narrative analysis are: what tensions, if any, may exist between a carer’s needs and the needs of the person with disability in home design; what design features of the physical home environment would enable carers to care in the home in more comfortable and sustainable ways; and what assessment criteria should home design and modification professionals consider when assessing for home modifications or adaptations which will support a whole-of-household approach to assessment and incorporate the needs and preferences of all members of a household, including carers. As a result of the analysis undertaken, we found that a number of aspects of home design are important to carers and ion order to facilitate better practice, these have been distilled into an attention-directing framework specific to relevant design criteria.

Publication History

1st edition Caring for the Carer: Home design and modification for carers of young people
with disability by Laura Davy, Toni Adams and Catherine Bridge, July 2014.

Table of Contents



Carers and Home Modifications

Carers’ Housing and Home Modifications

Carers and their households

Home Modification and Housing Support

Aims and Methods


Research Questions


Scope of Work

Literature Review

Assessing the home environment

Carers and the home environment

Carer stress and strain

Carers and housing

Home modifications and carers

Home design considerations for carers

Home safety and carer needs

Space in the home

Assisting care activities

Whole of household approaches



Appendix 1:  Home Modifications Checklist for Carers of Young People with Disability

Specialist Review Panel

Associate Professor Karen FisherSocial Policy Research Centre, UNSW AustraliaGuest Expert Reviewer
Sarah JuddPolicy and Development Officer, Carers NSWGuest Expert Reviewer
Jannis HaymanCarerGuest Expert Reviewer

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