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Alison Rogan, Tunstall’s External Affairs Director, celebrates the change makers who are delivering better outcomes across housing, health and social care.

Pressure: we all read about it, hear about it – feel it. It might be meeting the challenges of our ageing population, including the rising number of people living with dementia. It might be satisfying the increasing demands being made on our housing, health and care systems, the relentless need to make savings, or a blend of all of the above. Indeed, as highlighted by the upcoming Sitra conference, aptly titled ‘Change Makers’, it is clear that, when it comes to the way we deliver housing, care and support, it can no longer be the same old, same old. Thus, set in a context of unprecedented pressures, how can we deliver change that improves outcomes, and how can we do it in a more integrated and cost-effective way?

New challenges, new opportunities

Towards the end of last year, the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) and Tunstall Healthcare published a report entitled Delivering housing, health and care outcomes. We examined how we can enable the delivery of health and care services either in or close to people’s homes, as well as managing risk through technology-enabled support services. We also explored how housing offers to local GPs and Clinical Commissioning Groups can be best tailored to meet local needs across a wide range of services, including supported housing, housing improvements, adaptations, palliative home care and assistive technologies. The general thrust of our discussions was how, together, we can make the best of the challenges and opportunities we face, with a specific focus on our ageing population.

Radical shift

There was a call for a radical shift in thinking and working practices and to this end CIH developed an outcomes framework with the Housing Learning Improvement Network (LIN), called Developing your local housing offer for health and care, which was launched during the summits, to help housing professionals demonstrate their value.

Domini Gunn, CIH Director of Health and Wellbeing, who chaired the summits, commented: “For health and social care the critical challenge is to keep people well at home and, where possible, care for them at home in times of illness. For people with long-term health conditions, including rapidly rising numbers of people with dementia, the management of personal treatment and care in the home is the preferred (and only economically sustainable) model.”

Harnessing technology

There is no doubt that technology can help drive better outcomes across housing, health and social care. Yet, to achieve the best outcomes, technology-based solutions must be integrated into systems and redesigned pathways. There is also the issue of raising awareness. For example, Carers UK commissioned YouGov to examine public attitudes to using technology to support caring for older and disabled people. Here, polling indicated the barrier to using care technology is often a lack of knowledge, advice and information, rather than a resistance to technology.

Case studies 

Within the Delivering housing, health and care outcomes report are five different case studies that demonstrate how real innovation and transformation can be achieved.

Most recently, Tunstall has been working in partnership with Herefordshire Housing, within its new Henffordd Gardens scheme, providing integrated telecare and telehealth support for people living with dementia. Indeed, technology-enabled solutions such as those at Henffordd Gardens not only aid the integration of housing with health and care, but they also support the social and digital inclusion of residents and benefit their overall wellbeing.

So, here’s to change makers. They are the innovators envisaging a better future, with better outcomes, empowering people to lead better lives – and they are the ones taking steps towards making it real.

@AliRogan Alison Rogan, External Affairs Director, Tunstall Healthcare

Find out more about Sitra’s annual conference, which takes place Thursday 20 March.

Read Ali’s full feature in Sitra’s Bulletin – the magazine for housing with care, health and support.