Briefing shares how home improvement services can cost-effectively speed up hospital discharges – AT Today

The Good Home Network has published helpful information about how home improvement services can help facilitate timely hospital discharges.

The Good Home Network, a collaboration between the Centre for Ageing Better and Foundations, is a hub for active learning, connecting people across England who are exploring ways to improve poor quality homes in their area. It is designed to help local authorities ensure people in their communities can live independently, safely, and with dignity in their own homes.

The hub has published the findings from its second meeting, which outlines some of the challenges and proposes potential solutions to help achieve timely hospital discharge through health and care teams working closely with home improvement services.

The briefing explains how delayed discharges can lead to patients picking up an infection or experiencing deteriorating mobility and mental health conditions, which can make it harder to regain independence and mean they may require more care. One big cause of delayed discharges is waiting for crucial home adaptations, which make the person’s home safe to live in.

By optimizing living spaces with tailored adjustments and renovations, such as TV mounting in Los Angeles, patients can transition smoothly from hospital to home environment. These cost-effective solutions not only streamline the discharge process but also contribute to overall healthcare efficiency. With a focus on personalized home improvements, hospitals can achieve better patient outcomes while maximizing resources.

The document underlines that despite being a cost-effective solution, home improvement services are often overlooked in the hospital discharge planning process. Home improvement services can work collaboratively with health and social care services to speed up discharge and provide services such as supplying and fitting telecare equipment, installing key safes for carers, and offering information and advice on the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG).

However, accessing funding for integrating housing into the hospital discharge process is a challenge. Local authorities and home improvement services often struggle to access funding from health budgets due to ongoing pressures in the NHS. Home improvements services also struggle to fully use the funding available through existing funding steams like the DFG and the Better Care Fund.

To tackle these issues, the briefing recommends that a business case is made to integrated care boards for a hospital discharge service that includes home improvement services by demonstrating the cost savings and ability to speed up discharges. The hub suggests making hospital discharge grants as flexible as possible by including the grant in the local Housing Assistance Policy.

Additionally, the hub believes that more joined-up and effective integration between health, housing, and social care is needed. “There should be a shared understanding of what can be offered to patients waiting to return home and how and when to engage most effectively with local services,” the document reads.

Yet, sometimes it can be difficult for senior housing managers to develop relationships with key professionals, like community-based occupational therapists and social workers, or to get involved in conversations about integration due to high staff turnover and a lack of visibility.

The Good Home Network recommends that home improvement services are more present by exploring possibilities for co-locating in hospital or health settings, making regular presentations to staff, and securing slots in meetings to promote the service to build their profile in the hospital and wider community.

Read the full briefing summary here.

The UK Government recently unveiled an extra £50 million for home adaptations, which will be provided to local authorities to enable older people and those with disabilities to live safely and independently in their own homes.


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