Care & Repair Cymru’s new report shows how the project is reducing hospital readmission rates for older people by up to half and saving 20,000 bed days at Welsh hospitals each year.
The Hospital to a Healthier Home (H2HH) project operates in 17 hospitals across Wales. By carrying out simple home repairs and adaptations, the project helps older people with a quicker and safer return home from hospital.
The new report reveals that the project has had over 12,000 referrals in the last three years, and has saved the Welsh NHS over 62,000 bed days during this time.
Faye Patton, Project Manager of Hospital to a Healthier Home, said “This new report highlights the crucial role that the project plays in hospitals in Wales, and we’re proud to be a part of the solution to the challenge of NHS waiting times.
“To have helped over 10,000 patients in the first three years of being a Wales-wide project is fantastic and shows that agile services delivered by the third sector can bring great benefit to the Welsh NHS. It is vital that services like Hospital to a Healthier Home receive long term funding solutions.”
The speed and volume of home improvements the service can complete has meant that patients referred to the project stay in hospital on average 6 days less than those who are not. The report also shows that the service cuts risk of readmission by half, from 12.5% national average to 6%.
The service works by seeing to small adaptations and repairs, as well as cleaning and decluttering homes. These are all things which would otherwise fall onto health and social staff, taking them away from other vital aspects of their roles.
Zoe Hall, Occupational Therapist at Ysbyty Eryr, explains more: “As an Occupational Therapist, we would spend a lot of time trying to facilitate the minor adaptations and trying to find grants and things for cleaning homes, which would remove our presence from the ward. So, if anything, they [Hospital to a Healthier home Caseworkers] are allowing us to do our role to a better standard. My role would be consumed with the adaptation side of things and patients would be delayed in hospital because of it. There’d be delayed discharges, and there would be readmissions because of it.”
Critical to the success of the service is its speed of delivery. Works essential for discharge can often be done same day or within two working days. Bethan Williams, Social Worker in the Joint Discharge Team at Withybush Hospital, said“We had a new member of staff recently who moved from England, and she couldn’t believe that we had a service [Hospital to a Healthier Home] that would go out the same day to do a key safe. That’s why we add it into the introduction to the team because it’s a pathway we use for a lot of our cases.”
Chris Jones, Chief Executive of Care & Repair Cymru, said “Hospital to a Healthier Home is the solution to a problem. The service works with hospital staff, patients and their families to identify and resolve housing issues that would otherwise prevent a hospital discharge.
“It is a testimony to the dedication of Care & Repair staff, that the Hospital to a Healthier Home service has grown rapidly from small seeds to a substantial blossoming service. This growth would not have been possible without the co-productive instinct of the NHS’s frontline staff, as well as senior colleagues across health services, who recognised the potential of this offer.”
Hospital to a Healthier Home began life as Hospital to Home in Bridgend County Care & Repair in 2014 and has operated nationally since 2019. It was funded by the Welsh Government up until April 2022 but is now funded through a mix of Local Health Board and Regional Integration Funding and received NHS Welsh Delivery Unit support following a handover from Welsh Government.
To find out more about Hospital to a Healthier Home and to see if it operates in your area, please visit: www.careandrepair.org.uk/hospital
Full report: H2HH Evaluation Report 2022 (Eng)
Care & Repair Cymru and the 13 Care & Repair Agencies across Wales, support over 40,000 older people every year. We believe that no older person should live in cold, unsafe housing. We carry out thousands of home adaptations and repairs for older people, keeping them safe from accidents or helping in discharging them from hospital. Working in partnership with the NHS and local authorities, we identify older people most at risk, and then step in to prevent their increasing dependency on the NHS and social care services.
Care & Repair champion the housing needs of older people living in owner occupied and private rented housing. We do this by providing expertise, advocacy and evidence to support investment that ensures all older people in Wales can live independently and safely at home.
Care & Repair’s innovative Hospital to a Healthier Home service ensures that older people are discharged from hospital into a home fit for their needs.
Hospital to a Healthier Home caseworkers work directly with hospital staff to identify older patients’ housing problems quickly after they have been admitted. The service connects patients to their local Care & Repair Agency to ensure they return to a safe, warm, and accessible home.
The service is a valued NHS partner because it improves patient flow, reduces readmission rates, and ensures speed of delivery. Works essential for discharge can often be done same day or within two working days.
Our service has expanded across Wales and is now working out of 17 different hospitals and employing 17 specialised Hospital to a Healthier Home Caseworkers who are integrated into hospital discharge teams.
If you are interested in running this story, or setting up an interview with Faye Patton, please contact:
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T: 07818 554 385