Introduction 

Laybrook, based in Bicester, Oxfordshire is a leading national manufacturer and retailer of adjustable beds. They offer a wide choice of models and accessories and their products are manufactured in-house. Laybrook have been in business for over twenty years, the company offers a wide range of products and leads on high levels of customer service including delivering and supporting new customers to get started with their new beds ensuring they get off to a strong start.  

In the last year Laybrook supplied over 2,500 beds and over 100 chairs to a mixture of older and disabled people, equipment stores, NHS and care homes. 

Laybrook sells to the public across the UK and also supplies beds and chairs to the equipment stores, charities and many care homes; they offer free training for professionals who want to know more about assessing for adjustable beds. 

Laybrook has been a member of BHTA since July 2010.  

Background 

Laybrook attended a BHTA-hosted event in February 2024 where they heard about a new scheme to accredit customer-facing retailers of independent living equipment as Trusted Assessors.  

Trusted Assessors: Assessing in the Retail Environment was designed to accredit retail staff involved in demonstrating and selling independent living equipment as Trusted Assessors.  This new training-based programme enables customer-facing staff to learn the skills used by healthcare professionals involved in assessing for suitable home adaptations equipment. The course was developed by TACT in consultation with BHTA and its members and it is accredited by OCN London.  

Retailers of equipment for independent living like Laybrook are experts in the product solutions they range, and this enables them to check suitability and then tailor products to individual people’s needs. Many retailers are relied on in their local areas to visit people at home and demonstrate equipment to help people to live independently. This new qualification enables this work to be recognised formally. 

The Trusted Assessor model is based in occupational therapy models of practice and learning this approach enables an Assessor to evaluate the person and their environment in a systematic way to identify the best solution. Assessors are taught when to refer a case to an OT (Occupational Therapist) and this ensures best use of staff and resources whilst speeding up access to much-needed equipment.  

Laybrook were one of the first organisations to book the new course and a range of staff including Management, sales, and customer services, attended the one-day course led by one of TACT’s OT Trainers. 

The solution 

Laybrook commissioned TACT (Trusted Assessing and Care Training) Ltd to provide a Trusted Assessor course for a range of their staff at their own premises. One of TACT’s OT Trainers with a background in home adaptations led the course which combines a number of theory and practical modules.  

Learners took part in the face-to-face course and then completed assignments to demonstrate their learning and understanding. 

Assignments are marked and moderated by TACT’s team of OT Trainers. 

What Laybrook found 

Laybrook was interested in providing its customer-facing staff with a qualification that would endorse the way that they assess for bed solutions and provide additional knowledge to reinforce their skills. The qualification of Trusted Assessor would also act as a quality standard that can be communicated to the public and organisations that they supply to. 

Mike Kavanagh, Owner at Laybrook,

‘We know how busy many OTs are and therefore the fact that we can demonstrate we have been trained and can provide assistance in the assessment process will benefit all parties. It also means that our staff across all levels have been trained to a set standard for assessing.’ 

Feedback from the learners that attended the course was positive. Brett Gilham, Operations Manager at Laybrook commented:

‘It went really well and all the feedback from all the attendees has been really positive, I think all the team found it beneficial and it was good to have some good discussions and share knowledge. There was a mix of both experienced and new staff on the course, and everyone got to input throughout the day, and everyone learnt from it. It has made us all think more about how we engage with the customer and understand their needs and wishes, which will allow us to provide a better service to them going forward.’ 

Becky Woodfield was TACT’s trainer for Laybrook’s course, she shared her thoughts about the training:

‘It’s great to work more closely with retailers; to understand more about the products they have available to the public and to share our knowledge of the healthcare system to promote better outcomes for clients. Retailers have detailed knowledge of their products and the course can help to improve the assessment process that takes place in retail. Overall, my experience of delivering this course was positive and enjoyable. I hope to be able to promote more joined up working and training in the future.’ 

Key learning points 

Trusted Assessor training at level three is designed to enable staff to conduct assessments with clients, using clinical reasoning and best practice and to be able to reflect and adapt future practice.  

Learners are taught how impairment of function impacts on general wellbeing and the ability to perform a task, they take account of risk when selecting suitable equipment and understand the impact of the built environment. Assessors think about the impact on other family members and consider a range of possible equipment solutions.  

Above all Trusted Assessors know when to refer to an Occupational Therapist (OT) if a case is beyond their remit and this ensures that OTs handle the more complex cases.  

About TACT  

Trusted Assessing and Care Training (TACT Ltd) is an Occupational Therapy (OT) practice specialising in programmes for professionals involved with assessing for home adaptations. TACT is a national provider of accredited Trusted Assessor training, offering a choice of levels and learning formats. Expert OT trainers, personalised eLearning and regular practical workshops are key features of their programmes. In 2024-25 TACT is leading a review of The Competency Framework for Trusted Assessors. 

About BHTA 

BHTA (British Healthcare Trades Association) is the leading trade body for this sector. It represents over four hundred organisations in the UK who are involved in the manufacturing, distributing, and retailing of healthcare and assistive technology products. They operate a Code of Practice to ensure high quality service levels for the sector. 

For more details about BHTA, visit their website https://www.bhta.com/  

Contact TACT 

To find out more about training and other programmes relating to assessing for independent living equipment and home adaptations, please email TACT on info@trustedassessing.com, phone 01626 879528 or visit their website and complete a web enquiry https://trustedassessing.com/