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A home is much more than a house: Integrated approaches for the housing, health and care needs of vulnerable adults

The Care Act

The Care Act 2014 is a landmark piece of legislation bringing together, into a single coherent statute, the provision and funding of care and support, the effect of which is intended to last a generation or more. Additionally, for the first time, the contribution of housing to the care and support system has been recognised throughout the Act. The legislation emphasises better information, strengthened prevention, a more personalised approach, joining up support around the needs of the individual and has a core underpinning of promoting health and wellbeing. Housing is defined as a ‘healthrelated service’, placing housing firmly on the care and support map.

The workshops and report

The Local Government Association (LGA), seeking to establish examples of good practice in the integration of health and housing, to better understand any barriers
or opportunities to bringing these two areas together and to scope out its role in supporting councils, commissioned Sitra to run four regional workshops to define the core elements of what ‘good’ integrated working with housing looks like and to identify the conditions most conducive to its growth.

Policy landscape

This report highlights a number of specific aspects of the Care Act and accompanying guidance, which are of particular relevance to housing: information and advice; prevention and early intervention; market shaping and commissioning; and integration, cooperation and partnerships. Implementation of the Act will also take place in the wider context of continuing change to the NHS. The ‘Five Year Forward View’, published in late 2014, sets out a proposed future direction designed to
close three major gaps around health and wellbeing, care and quality, and funding and efficiency. Addressing these gaps will require more engaged relationships with citizens, investment in prevention, and the testing and development of new models for delivering health care. The landscape will therefore continue to evolve, although the desire to establish the role of housing in developing integrated care and support is likely to remain a constant. Charting the best route towards integration was the key subject of the workshops.