HousingLin, Mears and the LGC recently discussed a report looking at the benefits of the extra care model – Extra Care Housing is housing designed to provide the varying levels of care and support people may need in later life whilst also allowing for independent living
As the social care green paper gathers dust in Whitehall our population continues to age. The green paper, in whichever form, cannot solve every aspect of creating a fit for purpose adult social care system and we all have to play our part – government, local councils, the policy world, charities and the private sector.
Overall, our report estimates that there will be a shortfall of 400,000 units of specialist housing for older people by 2035. If none of the required extra care housing was built, this would translate to a missed opportunity to provide cost-benefits to the NHS and local authority adult services in England and Wales £167,209,870 by 2030
We ask that Government and local authorities work together to set a target to build 400,000 extra care properties over the next 10 years.
Extra care housing can be viewed as a preventative alternative to residential care for many people. Lifetime savings to the taxpayer per person from delaying or preventing this move could be as much as £5,000.
We call on NHS Trusts and CCG’s to take an active role in local housing plans to ensure that provision for extra-care is included.
There is strong evidence that extra care housing residents visit a GP less frequently, require fewer community nurse visits and that the duration of unplanned hospital stays is shorter on average for those living in extra care housing. This is most likely due to the support from on-site care staff and the resident community in general.
We ask that the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government alongside the Department for Health and Social Care set a remit for the 300,000 house building target to include a specific focus on extra care units, thus also freeing up current stock.
Government plans to meet the UK’s housing needs to not take into account forms of accommodation which are in severe shortage. Lifetime homes, temporary accommodation and extra care housing. Whilst the housing targets are in pipeline we could be releasing current stock if the right communities were available to those who need it.
We welcome the work of forward-thinking CCGs and Local authorities who have thought beyond the current social care funding crisis to create homes for people who are able to live independent lives without the fear of social isolation.
A Joseph Rowntree Foundation study found that nearly two-thirds of residents reported that they had a good social life after moving to an extra care housing scheme, whereas half of the residents said that they felt lonely and socially isolated in their previous homes. Residents also reported increased feelings of control and safety.
We believe that extra care improves the quality of life for our workforce. This includes training, job satisfaction, motivation and health. We ask that the Government recognise this in their assessments of the workforce recruitment challenge. Extra care equates to a happier workforce.
The social care workforce faces a huge gap in recruitment with people leaving the sector due to low wages, lack of training and support. The Government is already campaigning to address the need for 650,000 more workers in the sector needed by 2035 whilst also acknowledging the high turnover of carers leaving the sector. Staff turnover at Mears for domiciliary care is 40% and 20% for extra care.