£1m extra funds for Care & Repair to keep vulnerable older people safe this winter
An extra £1m Welsh Government funding has been announced for Care & Repair to support vulnerable older people this winter. The funding aims to reduce the number of people needing critical and emergency care, and to help those already in hospital to be discharged and return home quicker.
The vital funds will go some way to easing the enormous pressure being felt by the Welsh NHS and social services. It will support many hundreds of older people to get urgent repairs, crucial adaptations and works to make their housing warmer and energy bills more affordable this winter.
The funding is part of a bigger recent announcement of extra resources for the NHS, Social Care and the third sector to provide more early intervention and prevention services.
Chris Jones, Chief Executive of Care & Repair Cymru, said,
“This is fantastic news. These much-needed funds will help us do so much more for older loved ones who might otherwise suffer from cold, damp housing, ill health and falls this winter.
“We can also support more older people, with our Hospital to a Healthier Home service, to be discharged quicker out of hospital and back into a safe and warm home. Or if patients have recently been discharged, we will provide them with support they need to stop them being re-admitted. After all, who doesn’t want to be at home for Christmas? We are grateful to Welsh Government for recognising what a difference the extra money will make for people who are in desperate need.”
Dawn lives alone without heating
Dawn, from North Wales, is 75 years old and has lived alone since she lost her husband to cancer. When her boiler broke some years ago, she had no money to fix it and no one to help her. Then her roof started leaking, causing terrible damp and contributing to her existing illnesses. With deteriorating health, Dawn also became unsteady on her feet, yet there were no handrails or grips in her home to help her, and the loose stack of bricks used as her back doorstep were incredibly dangerous. The new funding will enable Care & Repair services to be there for people like Dawn, to fix her heating, repair her home, and to stop damp.
Care & Repair Agencies have a cohort of experienced caseworkers who passionately believe that no older person should live in cold or unsafe housing. Yet, without funding targeted on the most vulnerable and those in high priority need, there are many who don’t make it through the winter. Now, with this new funding announcement Dawn, and hundreds of others, will have the urgent repairs and adaptations done that they so desperately need.
Hospital to a Healthier Home
A large part of the grant will be used by Care & Repair’s Hospital to a Healthier Home project, which supports older patients being discharged from hospital, enabling them to return home quickly and safely. The project delivers home adaptations essential for hospital discharge, enabling safe, independent living, rehabilitation, and recovery at home.
The project supports people like 74-year-old Barbara. She had a fall at home and broke her knee. The Care & Repair Hospital to a Healthier Home Caseworker visited her home to do an assessment and found significant problems that presented a risk to Barbara’s continued recovery at home. Her toilet was leaking, the light in the bathroom was broken causing a risk of further falls, and there was no heating at the property at all. Through Care & Repair, the toilet and lighting were repaired, and once Barbara was discharged the Caseworker helped her apply for local funding to have a new boiler installed.
Repairs and adaptations make a world of difference. Now Barbara’s health is improving and the peace of mind she has cannot be understated.
Faye Patton, who oversees the Hospital to a Healthier Home project for Care & Repair Cymru, said,
“As winter approaches the pressures on hospitals are only increasing. However, Hospital to a Healthier Home is improving patient flow, and the tireless efforts of our Caseworkers play an important role in reducing these pressures.”
Care & Repair are also receiving more funds for their popular and successful Rapid Response Adaptations, to help older people needing small but vital adaptations that prevent damaging falls that lead to hospital admissions and help them live independently at home.
A recent study by the Swansea University found that older people who have Care & Repair services at their home, are 13% less likely to be admitted to hospital or a care home. The study used anonymised data of over 650,000 people in Wales.
Work done to the homes of Dawn and Barbara mean that they are far less likely to have a fall and end up in hospital again. This in turn reduces the pressure on emergency services and means that there can be greater free bed capacity for Welsh hospitals this winter.
Dawn admits that since losing her husband, she has “let things get on top of her.” But with the support of Care & Repair services, she can live in her own home independently, without fearing for her health or future.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Care & Repair Cymru and the 13 Care & Repair Agencies across Wales, have over 40 years’ experience of supporting older people. We believe that no older person should live in cold, unsafe housing. Annually we support over 40,000 people in Wales, most over the age of 70, carrying out home adaptations, repairs and benefits support.
Care & Repair’s vision is a Wales where all older people can live independently in warm, safe and accessible homes. Working in partnership with the NHS and local authorities, we identify older people most at risk, and then step in to prevent their increasing dependency on the NHS and social care services.
We champion the housing needs of older people living in owner occupied and private rented housing. We do this by providing leadership, expertise, advocacy, resources and evidence to support investment that ensures all older people in Wales can live independently and safely at home.
More information about the recent Swansea University study:
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