What’s so good about homes, health, care and understanding?
Stakeholders sign memorandum of understanding to improve health and care through the home
With health and housing closely interrelated, West Midlands in Context takes a look at the recent commitment across government departments, sectors and organisations to tackle health and care issues through housing.
All together now
Over 25 government bodies and organisations from the public and voluntary sectors and across the fields of health, social care and housing recently came together to renew their joint commitment to tackle health and care issues through housing, because, as their joint Memorandum of Understanding says, “housing affects our wellbeing, risk of disease and demands on health and care services”.
In brief, the Memorandum of Understanding sets out:
As might be expected there is a significant focus on information-sharing and coordination. For example, there are specific objectives to “support national and local dialogue and information exchange to inform better strategic decision-making” across the sectors and to develop a workforce across sectors so that they are “confident and skilled in understanding the relationship between where people live and their health and wellbeing”.
In setting out the measures of success, the document expects joint working to manifest itself, for example, through the inclusion of housing and homelessness in key strategy and planning processes for health, social care and local government both nationally and locally. Other signifiers of success include, the better understanding of the preventive role of housing, the greater incidence of collaborative care and the better use of resources, among other things.
Among the bodies signing the Memorandum are the Local Government Association and the associations of Directors of Adult Social Services and Directors of Public Health. Other organisations include, voluntary, specialist and professional bodies covering the likes of planning, environmental health, housing, social care, public health and occupational therapy as well as the relevant government departments and NHS bodies and agencies.
Housing and independent living
In terms of care, it’s worth noting the Chartered Institute of Housing and Housing LIN’s recent Sector Showcase briefing: housing and independent living, which highlights a range of schemes developed by “housing organisations working in partnership with social care, and often health partners”. Directly referencing the Memorandum, the briefing aims to support housing and social care partners showing what can be achieved in considering the needs of older and disabled people in their areas by looking at “how doing things differently might provide both savings for stretched public services and better outcomes for the people they support”.
Among the other useful documents in this respect, is the Local Government Association’s Housing Our Ageing Population. Published last year, the report notes that the “suitability of the housing stock is of critical importance to the health and wellbeing of individuals and the capacity of public services to sustainably support healthy ageing over the long term”. To assist councils and their partners, the report looks at some of the good practice across England, including examples from the West Midlands.