Housing associations deliver more than just bricks and mortar ! They have a unique role in ensuring more than just supplying houses. They also need to deliver an appropriate level of service for the increased health and well being of their tenants.
The role of housing associations are adapting to complement and drive the primary care strategy alongside NHS. The sector has seen first hand the impact poverty, welfare reform and public service budget cuts have affected individuals and families across the UK. With the introduction of the Futures Generation Act, housing needs to consider how best they drive the growing demand of people requiring relevant services due to tougher conditions.
Poverty impacts health services
As financial pressures mount on individuals and families due to the removal of the bedroom subsidy and the changing benefits, the potential of families going through prolonged periods of crisis means there will continue to be implications for mental health services, GP surgeries and A&E departments.
Poverty is rife and more families are entrenched in prolonged poverty. Just putting a roof over their heads is not sufficient. As a result, housing have been working on addressing employment, health and social inclusions for their tenants. This is done through internal schemes and liaising with various public services and partner agencies.
Housing and Primary Care partnership
Health boards and Housing associations need to work together to make best use of resources to support people in the right way. The housing sector is as an innovative sector within public services. Furthermore, they are recognising the importance of being an extension of the healthcare workforce in Wales.
By creating a partnership between housing and primary care through active collaboration, these services can therefore produce consistent positive outcomes for tenants whilst reducing reliance on core health services.
There are programmes and schemes running successfully between housing associations, local authorities and health services. One such scheme is with Taff Housing Association, one of Locality’s clients.
Reducing delayed transfers of care – Taff Housing Association
The Lighthouse Project, is directly managed by Taff Housing Association, working in partnership with Newport City Council’s Supporting People team. Newport city Council funds the project to provide floating support – a service that provides housing-related support to vulnerable adults to enable them to maintain their independence in their own home.
The Lighthouse Project created a hospital tenant support worker placement, as the project realised support was being delayed for patients leaving the Royal Gwent Hospital because of third party referrals and unnecessary paperwork and liaison. The request for a tenant support worker to be placed in the hospital came from the hospital social work team in Newport.
The social work team had experience of referring patients for support from the Lighthouse Project and appreciated the value of housing related support. There were, however, unnecessary delays in starting support and it was agreed by the Lighthouse Project, the Supporting People team and the hospital social work team that there would be a potential advantage in having a dedicated worker based within the hospital social work team. The tenant support worker could expedite a safe discharge from hospital and offer a more comprehensive support package, working in partnership with the hospital social workers and health professionals.
The outcomes of this project included:
- Faster and more responsive service for those awaiting discharge
- Ongoing floating support arrangements where appropriate so to maintain independence for individual goal achievement
- Reduced re-admission to hospital due to safety checks, tenancy related support and signposting to other agencies or more appropriate accommodation
- Cost savings for health and social services.
(source:Community Housing Cymru)
Multi-Agency Collaboration results in £3.2 million savings at CAVUB
Another such scheme running is with the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board with Anna Sussex as project lead. This scheme is much larger with up to 28 partner agencies and various services working together to address the needs of frequent attenders to A&E like the homeless. By sharing information and working together as an extended team, frequent attenders are given the support and appropriate services they require to reduce strain on A&E resources. More information on this scheme and Locality’s involvement is found here.
We will be exhibiting at the TAI Exhibition , Cardiff, on 25th-27th April 2017.
If you would like to find out more about this project send your interests to :
firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0330 001 5307