Home Modification Information Clearinghouse (HMInfo)

Home Modification Information Clearinghouse (HMInfo) was established in 2002 and its mission is to collate, review, develop and disseminate evidence-based home modification knowledge in order to enhance the independence and wellbeing of older people and younger people with disability, provide safe working environments for their carers and careworkers, and promote evidence-based best practice among home modification practitioners and prescribers. The HMInfo website provides free universally accessible evidence-based design resources and showcases:

  • The collection and critical review of relevant national and international literature.
  • The dissemination of findings in accessible and multiple formats, including knowledge translation, to the community, industry and other key stakeholders, to enable consumers and their carers to make informed choices and access evidence-based interventions.
Research Publications

HMInfo produce academically rigorous research-based documents on Home Modification policy and practice. Prior to publication, these documents are reviewed by Specialist Review Panels, comprising academic peer reviewers; expert practitioners in the fields of design, architecture, building, and occupational therapy; and consumer representatives for older people, people with disability, and carers. The list of available online publications produced by our team includes the following:

Evidence Based Practice Reviews
HMInfo Evidence Based Practice Reviews investigate the existing research evidence for the effectiveness of particular home modification design and building practices. Following a systematic review methodology, published literature on the design or building practice is examined. The literature search includes: databases of research studies in books and academic journals; legislation, Building Codes and Standards; Government, industry and consumer group websites; the HMInfo library collection of home modification publications and materials; grey literature documents, including industry guides and manufacturers’ specifications; and anecdotal evidence from online forums, consumer peak bodies, and service providers. Through evaluation of this published evidence, strategies most likely to achieve best practice home modification outcomes can be identified.

Consumer Factsheets
HMInfo Consumer Factsheets translate research evidence for home modification design and building practices into concise information for consumers. This information is designed to assist older people, people with disability, and carers, when planning and undertaking home modifications. Most Consumer Factsheets are derived from Home Modification Evidence Based Practice Reviews, Occasional Papers or Summary Bulletins. Other Consumer Factsheets are developed in direct response to the need for a concise guide to arranging home modifications, or undertaking a particular type of modification.

Industry Factsheets and Checklists
HMInfo Industry Factsheets and Checklists translate research evidence for home modification design and building practices into information that will assist home modification prescribers and practitioners. Industry Factsheets and Checklists are derived from Home Modification Evidence Based Practice Reviews, Occasional Papers, and Summary Bulletins, or developed when concise guidance on a particular type of home modification is needed by industry.

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. These policy and practice issues are identified by Government, Industry and Consumer stakeholders. Occasional Research Papers include a systematic review of literature on the issue, and examine the policy impact and practice concerns. Many papers also report an original research study that is undertaken in response to the issue. Common types of study are design analyses, cost-benefit analyses, and consumer and industry surveys.

Summary Bulletins
HMInfo Summary Bulletins provide a concise overview of the important issues relating to a particular home modification topic. These home modification topics are selected in response to an industry-identified concern or risk in home modification practices. Summary Bulletins identify the applicable regulations, Standards, and industry and fair trading specifications and guidelines, for the home modification topic. A range of home modification approaches are then reviewed, with a comparison of their advantages and disadvantages for various housing and personal circumstances. Summary Bulletins are intended to guide older people, people with disability, carers, and home modification prescribers and practitioners, in making home modification decisions. The information assists in determining the most appropriate home modification approach for each person, in the context of their home environment and care service mix.

Resources

HMInfo also provides resources to support aged care and disability providers and consumers. These include:

Research Library
HMInfo edits and maintains an electronic Research Library database with over 3,588 online and hardcopy materials relevant to the home modification sector. The collection can be searched using our indexed lists, or by an open search using our tailored search engine.

Subject Bibliographies
As a by-product of our research, HMInfo produces Subject Bibliographies of the best references for particular topics of interest to industry and other researchers.

Annotated Web Links
HMInfo Annotated Web Links are an edited collection of international and national websites containing information relevant to home modification decisions.

Block Library
The HMInfo Block Library is a collection of Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) assets developed specifically for the purpose of providing freely available Universal Design tools for both commercial and non-commercial stakeholders so that all can create spaces which take into account the size and movement restrictions of accessible mobility products. The Block Library is an essential step to facilitating the participation and social inclusion of the aged and people with disabilities in both private and public space design and redesign. These simple but significant downloadable drawings and models will provide all with the knowledge of space and other environmental requirements for the safe and effective access of a range of mobility products.

Case Study Library
The Case Study Library showcases actual home modification cases submitted by website users so they can be reused for problem sensing and problem solving. The aim of the database is to assist better and more effective
practice outcomes.

Forums
The Forums provide an opportunity for subscribers to exchange ideas and information relating to home modification for older people and people with a disability. Subscribers include Home Modification and Home Maintenance Service Providers, Occupational Therapists, Designers, Builders, Tradespersons, Consumers and Researchers – anyone with a particular interest in Home Modification for older people and people with disability, and are a useful and dynamic method for keeping up-to-date with developments in the field.

Research Library
HMInfo edits and maintains an electronic Research Library database with over 3,000 online and hardcopy materials that are relevant to the sector. This is an in-depth collection of materials on home modifications and related subjects, and is housed on-site. The Research Library supports scholarly research and includes primary as well as secondary sources. The collection can be searched using our indexed lists, or by an open search using our tailored search engine.

Upcoming training and/or events: An Events calendar of all courses and conferences relevant to home modification service providers is maintained and updated.

Additionally, we share publications submitted to us by the sector and manage a number of databases that allow users to search for home modification relevant services and one-off events. We aim to be a one-stop shop that supports best practice service provision, and as such our users are consumers of home modification services, service providers, designers, architects and those with a policy interest in this area.

HMInfo aims to share research findings and explore opportunities to facilitate enabling environments in all areas of living: from personal spaces in the home to public spaces at play, education, work and the urban landscape in general. We welcome enquiries from government, for-profit and not-for-profit organisations seeking to fund research relevant to our stakeholder groups.

Newsletter
HMInfo produces a quarterly newsletter containing information relating to home modification and maintenance issues and disability. Each publication contains an article, book review, and a website review, as well as upcoming publications, training and events.

Opportunities

HMInfo is interested in collaborating with industry, academics and both enrolled or prospective students who wish to explore ways to facilitate safer and inclusive environments for everyone. Please Contact Us if you would like to discuss opportunities with us.

For further information, visit the HMinfo website: www.homemods.info. It is free to register as a user and you may choose to receive regular updates from us.

To get more information, discuss issues or ask for assistance from our team, please email us at: HMinfo@unsw.edu.au or call us directly on 1800 305 486 (free call).

For quick updates, join us on Twitter@HM_Info, ‘like’ us on Facebook by entering “Home Modification Information Clearinghouse (UNSW)” into the search engine, connect with us on LinkedIn, or follow us on Pinterest.

Acknowledgements

This evidence-based design website was produced with funding from the Commonwealth Department of Social Services (DSS) and by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (Ageing, Disability and Home Care) (ADHC) under the Community Care Supports program (CCSP).