Innovative hospital discharge service gets more funding

An innovative service that ensures older people are discharged from hospital into a home fit for their needs has had renewed funding from the Welsh Government.

Care & Repair will receive £0.5m in 2021/22 to deliver the Hospital to a Healthier Home service, employing 12 specialist caseworkers to work with 15 hospitals across Wales.

Since 2019 the service has worked directly with hospital staff to identify older patients’ housing problems quickly after they have been admitted, connecting them to their local Care & Repair agency who ensure they return to a safe, warm and accessible home.

Between April 2020 and January 2021, nearly 2,800 patients were supported by the service with a quicker discharge into their homes, helping free up 16,000 bed days during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Welcoming the funding announcement, Chris Jones, Chief Executive of Care & Repair Cymru said:
“The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the importance of our older relatives and friends being able to live in a healthy home. That’s why we’re proud that our important and innovative service has been recognized with funding for another year.

“For older people who spend even more time at home than others, having a safe, warm and accessible home is crucial to their long-term health and well-being. Our Hospital to a Healthier Home Service not only helps discharge older people into a healthier home, but by connecting them to our trusted Care & Repair team we can work to resolve any longer term housing problems and help prevent readmission to hospital.”

Vaughan Gething MS, Minister for Health and Social Services, said:
“The Hospital to a Healthier Home service has provided much needed, positive support during the pandemic. Not only has it helped make available precious hospital capacity - where safe to do so - but it has helped older vulnerable people to go back to their own homes, facilitating safer and quicker discharges with rapid adaptations to ensure they are able to stay home to help reduce readmission rates.

“I fully expect H2HH to become a key service over the winter and I am pleased to provide over £510,000 to make this happen. The service has demonstrated very positive outcomes, high satisfaction rates with positive testimonials from hospital staff and patients and excellent value. It is a testament to the service and its caseworkers that patient satisfaction is at 99%.”

Between April 2020 and January 2021, the Hospital to a Healthier Home service:

  • Received 3,216 patient referrals from 15 hospitals.
  • Supported 2,743 patients with a quicker safe discharge to their own home
  • Completed 1,942 “Healthy Home Assessments”
  • Completed 4,314 home improvements or adaptations, accessing £850,000 grant support
  • Helped 259 patients access benefit entitlements, increasing their collective income by £1.2m per year (£4,633 per household per year).