Within the last ten years, hospital admissions among those over 75 have been rising almost four times faster than the ageing trends in the population. The growth readmissions in this age group is up by 86%.
The point at which a person leaves hospital following treatment or an emergency admission can be a vulnerable time, especially if it requires changes to patients’ home environment or even an accommodation move. Housing and support organisations can help patients to navigate these transitions and have been proved to reduce costs as well as the likelihood of readmission.
According to the CQC, the number of people aged over 65 admitted as an emergency with ‘avoidable’ conditions increased by over 40% between 2007/8 and 2012/13. Another study revealed that 87% of children and young people attending accident and emergency could be better treated in primary and community care.
Housing organisations are starting to put in place specific services to intervene at the moment an individual is most likely to phone for an ambulance. They also help to reduce the likelihood of a fall in the home, by providing home assessments, making adjustments and installing appropriate aids and adaptations.
Case Study: First Call service – Staffordshire
Hospital discharge planning
Involving housing organisations in discharge planning can reduce the likelihood that a patient will need to be readmitted in the 30 days following discharge.
This Hospital to Home resource pack contains further information about roles for housing and support providers in discharge planning. It includes a leaflet for Service Commissioners and a factsheet about Services to support older people returning home from hospital
Case Study: ASSIST Hospital Discharge Scheme in Mansfield
Step down accommodation and reablement
Housing organisations are starting to provide a range of step down accommodation, enabling patients to stay close to the hospital while living, and being taken through a reablement programme, in a home-like environment.
They have been shown to reduce both the length of time a patient stays in hospital and the costs of that stay.
If people are to be taken through a reablement programme safely in their own homes, then their home environment matters. If you don’t already have a solution to make people’s homes safe and conducive to a full recovery, you should get in touch with Foundations, your local council or another local housing organisation. One of them should be able to provide assistance.
Case Study: Curo Step Down
Housing options following a stay in hospital
For older people in particular, a lengthy stay in hospital can sometimes be the point at which they are unable to continue to run their home. Too often, all that they are offered is a move into residential care or a nursing homes, but there are many more ‘intermediate housing’ options available now with flexible support and care including sheltered or retirement housing, extra care and assisted living, retirement villages and almshouses.
This factsheet provides further information on accommodation options available to those who can no longer manage to live in their home:
Some housing organisations will provide advocacy services, helping people to navigate their way through the options available, make decisions about their future and come to terms with and even positively embrace the idea of a new home in a new community.
FirstStop Advice can help an older person to be more informed about the options available to them: including a National Advice Line that is free to call on 0800 377 7070