Extra care housing could be a viable alternative to residential care

Extra Care Housing describes housing with 24-hour support for older people. Organisations such as HBV Supported Living specialise in these types of developments. They combine technology with care and create developments that continue to support the individual in near home-like conditions. This move to near home like conditions would be seen by many as preferable to going into a care home. HBV recently published a research paper that laid the case for Extra Care Housing, but can it really save money over traditional forms of care?

The report put forward suggests that it can, sighting post £300k savings per annum. This is based on a study undertaken by East Sussex Council in 2013. It is based on a 100-bedroom flat scheme and therefore would not encompass all of the potential savings for local authorities. The savings based on this calculation could end up in the millions and the research should be taken seriously.

With the demand for social care expected to reach 44% by 2030, the search for alternative solutions has gone from beneficial to essential. At the same time as the increase in demand for services, there comes an increase in expectation. The current generation expects more and will not be happy with second best. We now know what to expect from social care and require the most convenient solution.

The Benefits of extra care housing compared to residential care

The main benefit from the human aspect is that those who require care are able to stay independent for longer. The heart of the service revolves around the individual and provides person-centred care which is a key tenant of the Care Act. Providing choice around your care is expected and living as independently as possible for as long as possible. This of course is costly. Costly for the local authority to put forth this type of care and ensure that it is sustainable.

Extra care housing provides the following benefits:

  • Help to support people in their homes for longer
    Maintain people’s independence and keep them out of acute hospital settings and residential care. It can also help to smooth the process of discharge from hospital.

  • Greater collaboration and innovation through local commissioning
    Service transformation can be delivered across health and social care, which is a goal of the current government and the move towards the Department for Health and Social Care, under the leadership of Jeremy Hunt.

  • Additional finance and delivery option
    Continued austerity measures mean that new and innovative solutions to expedite processes are gold dust. Ideas such as extra care housing are essential and build up a library of options. The government will be able to have a choice over where people are placed, they will be able to use residential care as a last resort of sorts.

An Ageing Population

With the number of people in England over the age of 65 set to increase from 9.5 million to 15.2 million by 2039, the problem is clear. In 25 years the population of over 65’s will increase by 58%. This is a staggering figure and one that needs long-term planning for innovative solutions. We do not have enough care home vacancies for all of these individuals and even if we did, placing them all into residential care would be against the key tenants of the Care Act. The individual must be given choice over their care and a care home is only the right solution for them in certain cases.

By investing in alternative accommodation options such as extra care housing you can ensure that people have choice in their care. You ensure that local authorities can choose the best balance approach to their care recommendation (cost vs care). You ensure that health and social care can effectively work together in the best possible environment. What we mean by this is by providing the system with more choice, you ensure that people receive the care they need and are not arbitrarily placed in an environment that is not suited to them. By creating more choice, the local authority ensures that the rooms they book in residential providers are fully utilised by those who need that level of care.