Memorandum by Melody Carter, North Bristol
NHS Trust (DD 35)
Unsafe, inaccessible, cold and damp homes have
a direct impact on anyone's health but for older and disabled
people this is much more of a risk, many older and disabled people
living on low incomes cannot tackle their housing problems without
These problems are often first identified when
a patient is discharged from hospital. Many elderly people living
in Bristol experience poor housing, fuel poverty and home security
difficulties which contribute to poor health and undermine both
their independence and quality of life.
Bristol Care and Repair have been tackling people's
housing problems for 14 years in Bristol and has witnessed the
impact that even a small repair can have on a person's well-being.
At North Bristol NHS Trust we have worked with
Bristol Care and Repair to develop a fast track assessment system
for elderly and disabled owner occupiers whose inadequate, unsanitary
and unsafe housing conditions would cause a delay in discharge
or would render even the best planned discharge arrangements unsafe.
The Trust has monitored the incidence of delays
due to housing difficulties and we are pleased to say that as
a result of this excellent service patients rarely experience
The interventions made can be as simple as re-hanging
a door or moving furniture around to rewiring a property or building
an accessible bathroom for a wheelchair user. It is estimated
that where the scheme is involved the numbers of bed days saved
range from two or three up to 100 or more days.
North Bristol NHS Trust, in partnership with
Bristol Social Services and local Primary Care Groups is developing
a whole systems approach to housing and health. Building on work
to prevent hospital discharge delays we have developed a training
package for health and social care community practitioners to
assess clients' homes for safety, security and energy efficiency
and then arranged for repairs to be undertaken "on prescription".
Through this scheme we hope that those most vulnerable people
can have home improvements that might prevent a hospital admission
such as a fall, or if admitted to hospital will have a home fit
to return to as soon as they are well enough.