A pilot scheme that helps older people to remain independent in their own homes and leave hospital more quickly has been extended into this autumn.
The ‘Hospital to Healthier Homes’ winter pilot scheme, delivered by Care & Repair, ran from ten hospitals across Wales over the winter period. The scheme aimed to support vulnerable older people to be safely discharged from hospitals to their homes, with a focus on preventing re-admissions by assessing the ‘health’ of people’s homes – and enabling improvements to be made to support their health and wellbeing.
The scheme, a Welsh Government and National Programme for Unscheduled Care collaborative project, was originally funded as part of £4m allocated to support health services over the winter period by testing new models of care.
It comprises of a dedicated case worker based at each site to facilitate practical adaptations to a patient’s home and enable discharge from a hospital bed. The case workers can also offer practical support and advice on issues such as access to financial support older people need to age well and making homes warmer, as well as referring patients at risk of isolation or loneliness into local community clubs or groups.
The pilot received over 600 referrals between mid January and the end of March, providing 628 home improvements and facilitated 320 means tested benefit assessments.
Following the emerging success of the scheme, the Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething has approved the extension for a further 6 months until September 2019, with a £170,000 fund being allocated to participating Local Health Boards.
In addition, the Minister for Housing and Local Government, Julie James, has approved another £200,000 of capital funding to support the extension.
Mr Gething said:
“I am delighted to be able to announce the extension of the scheme. The service has shown to have an immediate and positive impact on patients, relatives and staff, and I continue to be encouraged to hear about the number of people benefitting.
Supporting older people to be quickly discharged and made comfortable safely in their own homes, allowing them to live as independently as possible is of benefit to all individuals and services involved.
A real benefit of the scheme has been the opportunity for case workers to ‘make every contact count’. They have used their time with people in their homes to talk about issues like warm home measures, falls prevention or connection with local community groups to help support wellbeing.
The scheme directly complements our ‘A Healthier Wales’ vision for creating seamless models of care and highlights the importance of collaborative, cross sector working.
The extension will also support a more robust evaluation of its impact, giving us further feedback and lessons learned and enable sustainability."
Julie James said:
“I am very pleased to provide further capital spending to fund the extension of the ‘Hospital to Healthier Homes’ pilot scheme.
Housing adaptations help people to maintain their independence, and providing even small adaptations can help people leaving hospital, get them back home and help reduce delays in discharging patients.
This can then relieve pressure on emergency departments, alleviating pressure on the NHS while also helping people to live for longer in their own homes.”