Health and housing
While consideration of home and housing were not absent in previous care and support legislation, the Care Act 2014 embeds the concept of suitable living accommodation within the guiding principle of the entire care and support system envisaged by the act. In addition to accommodation being part of the legal definition for wellbeing, ‘independent living’ is confirmed as a ‘core part of the wellbeing principle’.
The government also acknowledged the importance housing can make to delivering prevention and the attendant cost savings, and committed to “explore whether improving housing can help people with care needs stay in their homes for longer and reduce costs to the NHS”.
Integrated health, care and support, and housing solutions could make best use of the budgets across the NHS, local authorities and their partners to achieve improved outcomes for less. Simple, cheap improvements like fixing loose carpets or insulating draughty windows could significantly reduce accidents and prevent illnesses getting worse, thus easing the pressure on health services.