Integrated health and housing services improving lives

ForViva announces results from survey of extra care facility residents

Residents of a Salford extra care facility have noticed a dramatic improvement to their health, just one year after moving into their new home.

A survey at the Amblecote Gardens extra care facility, undertaken by ForViva group member City West Housing Trust, has shown that 100 percent of residents surveyed have noticed an improvement to their general health and wellbeing since the scheme opened in September 2014.

The survey also showed that residents say they are now eating better, feel less reliant on their families and are more secure.

Around 90 percent of residents surveyed said they are less stressed and 80 percent had gained weight as a result of eating regularly and healthily.

One of the facility’s residents, Edward Grundy, is among the 69 customers who have seen a dramatic improvement to their physical and mental health since moving into Amblecote Gardens.

The 62-year-old had for a time lived rough before moving to a homeless hostel in an often-chaotic environment, which saw him develop negative friendships and increase his substance misuse.

Following a dementia diagnosis, he was finally referred to Amblecote Gardens in 2014.

Since moving into the facility, Edward has seen a dramatic improvement in his behaviour, mental health and confidence with the scheme’s dementia friendly environment helping him to remain calm and deal with his condition. 

Edward said: “Before I moved to Amblecote Gardens I used to live on the streets. I didn’t have anything. Now I have my own flat, I have friends and I feel safe. I never thought I would have that in a million years.

“My flat is really comfortable. It looks nice, I take pride in doing my own cleaning now and that’s something I couldn’t do in the past on my own.

“My life has changed so much for the better and I can’t thank the staff enough. They’re not only here for me whenever I need it, but they’ve helped me to manage my money, build up my possessions and now I have a real home where I feel safe and happy.

“There should definitely be more places like Amblecote Gardens so people can enjoy the same quality of life.”

Amblecote Gardens was the first extra care facility to be built in Salford for five years. It was designed to be integrated into the wider neighbourhood to ensure residents can maintain independent lives with access to key services.

The scheme offers a number of features to support residents with dementia, including a colour and artwork scheme which helps customers to find their way around the care home and back to their apartments. A range of planned activities also take place regularly to reduce feelings of isolation and depression – common in many living with dementia.

City West, part of the ForViva group which owns and manages 18,000 homes across the North West, has been a long time advocate for joining up health and housing services across the UK.

A report with think tank the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) North, which was supported by City West, showed that poor housing costs the NHS around £1.3 billion ever year, with people forced to spend weeks in hospital because they are no longer able to live independently in their own homes.

The report also called for more properties to be built to Lifetime Homes Standards, reducing the strain on acute health services by ensuring that support can be adapted to a person’s individual needs.

Amblecote Gardens is now being used as a blueprint for the landlord’s second scheme, Bourke Gardens, due for completion in late 2016. The facility will also provide the same tailored support for residents, including round-the-clock care and personalised health plans.

Colette McKune, Group Deputy Executive at ForViva, said: “With care services for the most vulnerable in our communities being stretched, it is imperative that people are given the support they need to live independently in their homes for longer.

“Developments such as Amblecote Gardens focus on maintaining independence, in addition to offering tailored services for individual needs – which can play a key role in reducing hospital admissions.

“The survey results show that delivering effective integrated services alongside a high quality scheme design can achieve real results. As a sector we need to work closely with our health partners to ensure we meet the housing needs of an ageing population in an increasingly challenging financial environment.”

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