A new report highlights how housing associations could help to revolutionise the way health and social care is delivered in the UK.
The report published today by one of Scotland’s leading housing associations, Hanover Scotland, has concluded that housing is an untapped resource which could help Health and Social Care Boards engage better with older people, delivering more effective services as a result.
Hanover Scotland outlines in the report the importance of going beyond traditional methods of engagement, as well as the importance of understanding the emotional needs of people and the networks which exist within communities.
This information can help to achieve better outcomes, such as increasing happiness and reducing loneliness and isolation.
Connecting communities through health and social care
Hanover Scotland has published the report, Connecting Communities, after completing an action research project to understand how the organisation, staff and residents can work with local communities to help people live the lives they want.
It comes just a few weeks after a report by Audit Scotland highlighted that ‘more work needs to be done to engage with local communities when making changes to health and social care services.’
As part of the research, a group of Hanover staff were trained to use a relationship-centred approach as developed by Professor Mike Nolan at the University of Sheffield. This describes the need for a sense of security; a sense of continuity; a sense of belonging; a sense of purpose; a sense of fulfilment and; a sense of significance.
Using these principles, the Hanover research team, was able to gain an insight in to the networks and connections that exist in local communities and what prompts positive emotional responses from people.
The research demonstrates how housing organisations could be a gateway for health and social care bodies to improve their own engagement and deliver better outcomes.
Hanover’s report came to four conclusions. The first highlighted that the home is fundamental to the wellbeing of people and the sustainability of communities, and that housing is key to all efforts to integrate and improve health and wellbeing.
Secondly, that engagement with older people when shaping services must improve, and consider the emotional motivations and needs of individuals to better understand the networks and support which exists within communities.
Thirdly, housing organisations are an untapped resource, without which it will be more difficult for Integration Joint Boards (IJBs) to achieve better health and social care outcomes as outlined by Audit Scotland.
Finally, the report recognised that it is essential that housing organisations be offered the opportunity to be fully included in the ongoing integration of health and social care.
Helen Murdoch, Chief Executive of Hanover Scotland, said: “Housing organisations are the gateway through which health and social care bodies can provide outcomes to help people live the lives they want.
“Our detailed discussions with our residents has given us a deep understanding of what kind of service they want from us and how we can go about doing that. As a result, this research is going to shape Hanover’s services for years to come.
“We do not pretend to have all the answers, but it seems clear to me that were housing organisations included more closely in the integration of health and social care in the future, we could use this kind of model to improve engagement with local communities and deliver better, more effective services across the country.”