Health and Housing
13% of Wakefield's private housing stock has a hazard that is classified as a risk to health. It is this stock that is housing some of our most vulnerable residents. It is further estimated that poor housing conditions are responsible for over 1,164 harmful events requiring medical treatment every year in Wakefield.
The right home environment is essential to health and wellbeing. Housing has one of the biggest impacts on health outcomes. The Building Research Establishment estimates that the cost to the NHS of poor housing for those over the age of 55 is about £624m per year.
The condition and availability of housing can have a significant impact upon health and wellbeing. Poor housing has been shown to have a detrimental impact on both physical and mental health, worsening some medical conditions and contributing to accidents and injuries such as trips, falls and burns.
Whereas, the right home environment will protect and improve health, and enable people to manage their care and health needs, to ensure they can remain in their home. The right home environment can greatly impact on delaying or reducing the need for primary care and social care interventions, preventing hospital admission and supporting timely discharge from hospital to home.
What are we doing about this in Wakefield?
The Wakefield Health and Wellbeing Plan clearly defines the need for the Wakefield health and care system to understand the role all public sector organisations can play in tackling some of the wider determinants of health and wellbeing; with housing being one of these determinants.
Wakefield partners, including NHS Wakefield CCG and WDH, have therefore come together to create a Housing, Health and Social Care Partnership group (HHSCP) which sits under the wider architecture of the Wakefield Health and Wellbeing Board.
Housing, Health and Social Care Partnership
The impact of housing on health is widely acknowledged. At a national level, almost 30 high profile organisations representing housing, health and social care have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of improving health through the home. To support taking forward the MoU, Public Health England have produced a check list for local plans and policies, to review the extent to which they acknowledge housing’s role in improving health and wellbeing.
All Wakefield partners have agreed that the checklist will be used across the Wakefield system. The HHSCP will progress this as an important strand of work in the wider context of a potential refresh of the Wakefield Health and Wellbeing Plan.
It has also been highlighted through the work of the HHSCP that there are a number of patients who are delayed when leaving hospital due to a housing issue. Housing pathways and co-ordination is being reviewed with the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust (MYHT), with a view to making hospital discharge more efficient where housing issues are present.
Progress to date within the HHSCP includes:
- From October 2017, Telecare is now offered as a standard part of the Reablement Service. This is provided through the WDH Care Link service, free of charge, to the patient for the duration of their reablement
- As a result, many patients have continued with the service post reablement providing them with ongoing support in their home to maintain independence
- As part of the Age UK Hospital to Home transport service, patients will also benefit from the installation of Telecare in their home to provide ongoing 24/7 support, free of charge, for up to one month. A Care Link Home Responder will also be provided as part of the Hospital to Home service
- From the current Care Link service users, ambulance call-outs have been mitigated in up to 42% of fall incidents
- Housing pathway and coordination is being reviewed with MYHT with a view to making hospital discharge more efficient where housing issues are present.