Housing Info & Advice in Health Settings

Illness or a health crisis can be a critical point for older people making decisions about their housing and care.

Care & Repair England works in partnership with local Care & Repair agencies, AgeUKs and other groups to pioneer provision of housing, care and related financial information and advice in health settings. Below we list a number of past and current initiatives.

Smiling Man

Integration in Action: Evaluation of Age UK Warwickshire’s Housing Options Service

This evaluation report about provision of impartial information and advice about housing, care and related finance in later life, provides analysis of the benefits, including the cost benefits, of the service delivered to older people by Age UK Warwickshire.

The initiative is of particular relevance due to its activity at the interface of health, housing and care and the ways that the service operated as part of a pro-active GP Care Navigators initiative. This Care Navigators scheme, funded by CCGs, pro-actively contacted and visited all people over 75 yrs, particularly focussing on those with multiple long term health conditions / with indicators of high health need.

The housing options additional service was made possible through the EAC FirstStop national programme and the evaluation demonstrates the critical importance of including housing help as part of a holistic response, noting in particular the £8 payback for every £1 spent.

Full report available here   [May 2017]

Short Summary brochure  here   [July 2017]

Living Safely & Well at Home

The condition of older people’s homes has a significant impact on their health. Offering housing information and advice, combined with practical help to improve the home, to older people who are visiting GP surgeries or hospitals can therefore play an important role in reducing risk of hospital admission, avoidable readmission or premature admission to care homes.

Through a pilot venture with EAC FirstStop, funded by Nationwide BS, from Oct 2013 to Sept 14 over 15,000 older people in such situations were provided with housing information and advice combined, where needed, with practical housing help to enable them to live safely at home.

Self help brochure

To support this work Care & Repair England produced a Living Safely and Well at Home self help brochure, a practical guide to improving the home to make it safer and healthier, which is now being used by local Care & Repair, AgeUK and similar groups across England.

We also managed a programme of small grants to enable these agencies to run local events in hospitals, GP surgeries and other centres in order to reach out and offer their services to older people experiencing health problems.

Thanks to further support from Nationwide BS this programme will continue into 2015.

If only I had known…. initiative

The aim of our ‘If only I had known…’ initiative was to enable older people, their families and carers to make an informed decision about future housing, care and support either following hospital admission or where a person had a long term health condition.

No longer being able to climb stairs, use a bath or a standard height WC are common housing  difficulties that impact on older peoples’ ability to leave hospital. Practical housing help to adapt or repair the home, or moving  home if this is not possible, can therefore make all the difference to the hospital discharge, as well as older people’s quality of life at home.

Housing advisers were located within pilot area hospitals working with patients and health staff to improve the transfer of older patients from hospital to home. They made sure that patients were returning to a suitably repaired or adapted home, or to a different home, thereby reducing the risk of readmission as well as improving older peoples’ quality of life.

Evaluation reports about the programme describe the work in detail, demonstrating how housing help improved the lives of older patients as well as resulting in quantifiable savings for health and social care.

Click here for: If only I had known… Integration of housing help into a hospital setting (2012)
This report provides information about policy drivers which support the integration of housing help into a hospital setting will illustrative practice examples and cost benefit analysis of individual cases where housing improvements have saved health and care costs

Click here for: If Only I had known……..An evaluation of the local hospital linked pilot projects (2012)
This report provide evidence and information about local pilot projects which have been pioneering the integration of housing help into a hospital setting

Archived related reports

Healthy Homes, Healthier Lives Programme 

Our ‘Healthy Homes, Healthier Lives’ project pioneered and promoted better joint working amongst front line staff in the health, care and housing sectors.

Through an innovative ‘Housing Awareness’ training initiative it develop the public health role of front line statutory (particularly health and allied health professionals) and voluntary sector staff who were in regular contact with older people. It also promoted a greater understanding of the steps that older and disabled people could take to improve their health through home improvements and adaptations.

Click here for full report about the programme (2009)

Healthy Homes, Healthier Lives

This report details housing related initiatives and services which bring about health improvement, particularly those being developed by home improvement agencies. The report can be downloaded in pdf format here.  [2002]