Rachael will be discussing the role of housing in population health and the development of place at the Housing and Health Conference later this month.
Can you tell us about yourself?
I’ve worked in supported housing for over 25 years now. I am currently Executive Director of New Models of Care at Home Group, developing models of supported housing that integrate housing, health and care closer to the customer. Supported housing has the ability to play a much bigger role is alleviating pressure on the NHS and social care through a supported housing alternative. The delivery of new models is predicated on excellent cross sector relationships, demonstrating both the efficiencies that can be made and a step up in the quality of service when housing, health and care are integrated at the point of delivery.
What’s worked when it comes to health and housing?
It takes a willingness to engage in new areas and to learn. Working directly with NHS trusts has been at the heart of making the partnerships between health and housing work. Reflecting back on what works there are some stand out lessons:
- Investing in clinical expertise and strong oversight in terms of quality, reassuring commissioners we can deliver safe and effective care for customers with complex needs.
- Excellence in design, offering a housing and care solution that supports the customer by good design, location and community
- Supporting the NHS as well as social care, by relieving pressure either on acute wards, transitioning into community based services of all types.
- Making that engagement with housing easy. Approaching NHS trusts directly and setting out how housing can help. Housing is an integral part of that whole drive to invest and increase solutions in the community and reduce the reliance on in-patient facilities, that’s good for our customers and communities just in the same way as it benefits the NHS.
Have you seen more interest in the schemes recently?
We've been developing our new models of care work within the Home Group for two years now, and take-up has definitely increased over the last 12-18 months. Engagement with health and making progress takes time, the funding arrangements differ, that shared understanding of the offer and the investment but the prize is worth it. At the conference I will share some of the results from our new models in relation to savings and customer outcomes.
In terms of uptake amongst the housing sector I think is mixed, it does need to be a joint strategic choice. It takes investment from a housing perspective to develop the housing and care offer for the NHS and patience on all sides to reach the right outcome.
What opportunities do you think there might be with the adoption of the place-based approach to population health?
Housing already plays a central role in communities, delivering homes, being close to the customers who live with us and/or receive our care. As community services increase to allow in-patient services to be for those who need them most, then involving local housing providers is pivotal to that.
Equally housing needs to be a part of health and wellbeing boards, integrated care systems, etc. At the King's Fund event just recently in Manchester it was so interesting to listen to Jon Rouse (Chief Officer of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership) talk about devolution in Manchester. Manchester has a great housing partnership and the mental health trust have a housing strategy, both are aligned. That gives me hope that things are moving forward and the models of integration are there to be replicated.