Not reinventing the wheel

As times get tougher and the pressure is on to find yet more efficiency savings, it becomes ever more imperative that everyone learns from each other.

Leading bodies in the health field have grave concerns about the scale of savings being demanded of the NHS. Consequently any housing service that can help to reduce demand on hospitals and GPs is going to be of interest.

This is why Care & Repair England has teamed up with Public Health to publish information about how local areas are delivering home adaptations in ways which are innovative and effective.

It is challenging to admit that systems could be improved, and sometimes processes have evolved to some degree to ‘manage’ demand. This is particularly the case where DFG budgets have been reduced.

However, if we are to make the case for inclusion of housing related help in local Better Care Fund and related integration plans, we have to show that home adaptations can be delivered at a speed that chimes with NHS systems. This means thinking in terms of hours and days, not months and years. It means providing better evidence, embedding in processes, and enabling self help to prevent health problems.

We are keen to publish more local examples, so time to stop hiding your light under a bushel and tell the world about your success. [June 2015]

Home adaptations – a lifeline

Last night I came across a TV programme ostensibly about DIY but which in fact was about adapting a home for a disabled person. I was struck how little most people appreciate the incredible difference that home adaptations make to people’s lives.

In this particular instance the life of every family member – mum, dad, two younger siblings – was completely transformed by adaptations to their home and which also enabled the family to continue to care for the disabled son.

How often have Care & Repair workers heard older people say that their quality of life is incomparable after sometimes even a relatively minor adaptation?

At a time when saving money has become the measure of everything (and of course we have to keep on making this case too), we do still need to keep in mind the human cost of inadequate, unadapted homes.

NHS mental health services have been in the news lately with various commitments to giving  mental health equal treatment with physical health.

Most of us would make the point that in real life these are so often indivisible, and what better example than the impact of home adaptations on mental health, with their power to enable independence and living with dignity? [June 2015]