Health and Social Care Integration
Home – at the Heart of Integration
“There’s no place like home” “Home! Sweet home!” “Home is where the heart is!” We are surrounded by phrases – cliché’s even – that reflect our need for somewhere that we can call home.
The importance of people’s home to their physical and mental wellbeing is widely accepted. The picture at the top of this page is usually accompanied by the phrase “There’s no ward like home” – to highlight the fundamental aim of integrated health and social care to focus on the person in their home and community. That aim – to live at home, or in a homely setting, for as long as possible – is what we all want.
So making sure that people’s home is ‘fit for purpose’ so that it helps, rather than hinders, them to live full and active lives is central to truly integrated care. Removing trip hazards that increase risks of falling, improving heating in cold damp houses that exacerbate health problems, or installing level access showers so that people can bathe again – these are all part of achieving national health and wellbeing outcomes. And this is where the housing sector makes its contribution.
Adaptations services are amongst the most important of these contributions. Adaptations are consistently shown to deliver better outcomes at a lower cost: better quality of life for people using services and for their carers, with substantial savings from reduced hospital admissions and lower requirements for care and support. But there is a need for substantial improvement in these services.
Under the banner of Adapting for Change, five sites across Scotland (Aberdeen, Borders, Falkirk, Fife and Lochaber) are currently testing new approaches to address the shortcomings in the way in which adaptations services are currently delivered. These are supported by the Joint Improvement Team (JIT) and sponsored by Scottish Government Housing, Regeneration & Welfare.
At the recent Scottish Housing & Support Conference, Lochaber set out the agenda to transform adaptations services
The housing contribution to integrated care goes well beyond adaptations – building and improving homes including extra care housing schemes, providing information and advice, and acting as an anchor in communities. A recent survey of housing associations has shown a huge range of other services – shopping, snow clearing, telecare installation, gardening and housing support. The importance of housing’s role has been recognised in the recently published Housing Advice Note (HAN), which requires Integrated Joint Boards to prepare a Housing Contribution Statement as part of the strategic planning process. The HAN is not exactly bedside reading – but maybe over breakfast?
Home must be at the heart of integration. And that means that the housing sector is a key partner for health and social care to help make ‘home’ what people want it to be – a place of safety and security where they can live their lives to the full.
For more information contact Amanda Britain, Joint Improvement Team lead on Housing