‘Huge opportunities’ to transform housing with care provision

Paul Burstow, SCIE chair

An overhaul is needed on how housing with care and support is planned, commissioned, designed and delivered.

A long-term plan to improve housing with care and support for older people has been published in a report by the Commission on the Role of Housing in the Future of Care and Support. ‘With moderate investment and galvanised effort, there are huge opportunities to transform the provision of housing with care and support’, it said.

However, report authors concluded concerted action nationally and locally with a ten-year strategy was needed and called for plans to be at the heart of the white paper for social care.

A place we can call home: A vision and a roadmap for providing more options for housing with care and support for older people looked at housing options that provide care and support, including retirement housing, care homes, extra care, shared lives, supported living and co-housing, and heard from older people about the challenges and difficulties they face – and the choices they want to see.

Authors found national policy, funding, regulatory and planning frameworks to be ‘complex and fragmented’, while the gap in supply was ‘particularly acute’. Also, there were ‘significant regional disparities’ in supply and a lack of provision for people of all economic backgrounds, including those who are eligible for social care and who are seeking ‘middle market’ options for purchase or rent.

It identified seven principles of excellence in the report: person centred and outcome focused; community connectedness; strong leadership culture and workforce; adopting innovation; enabling choice and control; promoting equality; and co-production and shared decision-making.

Recommendations at central government level included a long-term vision and strategy for the sector; a housing future fund; simplification of the national planning framework and guidance; and increased capital investment in housing with care developments.

At local level, the report argued for partnerships to produce a single plan for improving housing for older people in the locality and co-production forums made up of, and speaking for, older people from all backgrounds, to influence planning, commissioning and design of homes.

The document also made recommendations for developers and providers.

Funded by The Dunhill Medical Trust and managed by Social Care Institute for Excellence, the Commission on the Role of Housing in the Future of Care and Support was established in October last year.

Institute chair Paul Burstow, who also co-chairs the commission, said: ‘No decision about care and support should be made without considering where people live. This report is a wake-up call: it makes a compelling case for investing in innovative housing with care and raising public awareness of their later life housing options.

‘Better housing can help people to live in places that matter to them as they age, to remain independent as long as possible and stay connected with their family, friends and communities.’

Professor Julienne Meyer, professor emerita of nursing: care for older people at City, University of London, said: ‘I said last year that this commission mustn’t just be a talking shop. I’m delighted that this report makes some tangible recommendations for a ten-year strategy.’

Sir David Pearson, independent advisor, added: ‘Excellent housing with care – including care homes, supported living, extra care and the many other models – is at the heart of supporting people to live the best lives they can. I hope that the important recommendations from the commission will inform future policy and practice for years to come.’