Care costs are slashed by more than a third and health benefits soar as a result of successfully combining health, social care and housing services for older people, a ground-breaking, three-year study has revealed.
The research, conducted by Aston University and commissioned exclusively by the ExtraCare Charitable Trust, highlights for the first time the myriad benefits of allowing older people to remain independent, while living in a village environment with on-site support services.
Key findings of the Aston University research, which studied 195 ExtraCare Charitable Trust residents and non-ExtraCare residents at locations across the North and Midlands, include:
- NHS costs for ExtraCare Charitable Trust residents were cut by 38 per cent over 12 months compared with their costs when they first moved in.
- ExtraCare Charitable Trust residents experienced a significant reduction in the duration of unplanned hospital stays, from 8-14 days to 1-2 days.
- Routine GP appointments for ExtraCare Charitable Trust residents fell 46 per cent after a year. A major factor here is the preventative health-care support available through the charity’s award-winning Well-being Service.
- Numbers of people with clinical levels of depression fell by 64.3 per cent over 18 months.
- The cost of providing higher-level social care using the ExtraCare Charitable Trust model was £4,556 less (26 per cent less) per person per year than providing the same level of care in the wider community.
Martin Shreeve, chair of the ExtraCare Charitable Trust, said: ‘Our approach offers a 38 per cent reduction in health costs, less pressure on hospital beds and GPs and better outcomes for older people in terms of improved physical well-being and reduced depression and isolation.
‘We believe our long-sighted approach to older people’s housing and health pays dividends. We’ve developed this model for more than 25 years and it’s not just another version of ‘sheltered’ or ‘extra-care’ housing. This is unique and it’s the real “ExtraCare” – it offers our residents an enriching and independent lifestyle and reduces pressure on the public purse.’
Martin added: ‘It’s time for funders and policy makers to get behind this model which has become so popular with older people and is delivered at a cost that is affordable for the individual and society.’
The three-year study was led by Dr Carol Holland, director of Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA), at Aston University in Birmingham. Dr Holland said: ‘The ultimate aim of this research is to inform the best possible health and well-being outcomes for the general public and learn from what is being done. The ExtraCare Charitable Trust model combines health and care, support and preventive strategies, in an environment in which active engagement is very accessible.
‘The evidence has shown benefits for the full range of older residents, from active healthy people with few health issues through to the very frail. It is an important stepping-stone to a better understanding of how best health, social care and housing professionals can work together to help people enjoy happier and healthier lives in later years, and an improved quality of life for people at whatever stage they find themselves.’
Birmingham City Council and the ExtraCare Charitable Trust have established a £200 million partnership to build five retirement villages in the city by 2017. At present three are complete, with two on site.
Peter Hay, strategic director for people at Birmingham City Council, said: ‘These findings are impressive and great news for our city, as our citizens are benefiting from the fantastic services our partnership with ExtraCare Charitable Trust has facilitated.
‘It is clear that the ExtraCare Charitable Trust retirement village model offers significant opportunities and potential savings for professionals involved in commissioning public services.’
Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, director of nursing at Health Education England, has visited ExtraCare’s Hagley Road Village in Birmingham. She said: ‘At Hagley Road Village, people find the best combination of health, medicine, exercise and well-being to help them live as best they can. They have the community where they can enjoy one another’s company, doing things like arts and crafts, going to the bar, bingo, or visiting the gym.’
She added: ‘We can afford the NHS if we make some bold decisions about quality and value. To do this we need to support and help people think about managing their own health. Actions such as stopping smoking, drinking sensibly, exercising, eating healthily and ensuring people have access to early advice and treatment make a real difference. The Aston research and the ExtraCare Charitable Trust’s approach to older people’s health and well-being demonstrate the positive impact of preventative health care and matches our own aspirations within the NHS.’