Evidence shows that poor housing conditions cause accidental injury, make existing health conditions worse, make treating health conditions difficult and have a huge social impact upon the ability of individuals to achieve their potential in education or employment.
This Housing JSNA paper is one of seven narratives that aim to understand the health and wellbeing needs of our local population. Key findings include:
- There is a clear link between the quality of housing and health. Housing improvement can be an important mechanism that can lead to health improvement.
- A lack of affordable housing can have severe implications for the physical and mental health of a person as well as the local economy.
- As more people are living longer, there will be an increased need for home adaptations, specialist housing and residential care bed spaces.
- People unable to keep their house warm enough most of the time are more likely to use outpatient departments and visit the GP four or more times. Additionally, poor housing has been related to an increased risk in cardiovascular and respiratory disease in winter.
- Public health is working with partners in local authorities to help improve the housing stock and enable people to live in their own home for longer.
Summary of Interim Results
Phase 1 – October 2015 to February 2016
- Poor housing has a major effect on the health and wellbeing of individuals. Evidence shows that housing modifications to improve warmth and damp can help to improve population health
- A pilot study was necessary to assess the feasibility of undertaking a full scale study, given potential costs
- Target intervention group was those aged 75+ living in privately rented or owned their home
- MOSAIC social marketing dataset used – passive direct marketing approach
- 6000 invitation letters sent out, signed by DPH. Reminders sent two weeks later = 12,000
- Poor response – 3% – total calls generated from two letters – 160
- Next 6000 letters signed by DEAC (Dorset Energy Advice Centre), who had achieved a higher success rate in previous projects. Reminders sent out two weeks later = 12,000
- 4% response generated – 220 calls
- 106 homes improved. Bournemouth = 17 (existing Boscombe regeneration programme influenced uptake). Poole = 12, Dorset = 77
- 475 services requested through SAIL (Safe and Independent Living)
- Adapted version of SF-36 questionnaire assessed health and wellbeing pre and post intervention. Recommended in Affordable Warmth and Health impact evaluation toolkit
55 people completed pre and post intervention questionnaires:
83% noticed a temperature difference
32% noticed a difference in their heating bill
47% are less worried about heating bills
25% said their general health has improved
34% said they visit their GP less
The second phase is likely to be more cost effective as it targets individuals via referrals from health and social care agencies. This is consistent with the evidence. It is recommended that future studies should be limited to targeting individuals, rather than a population approach.