This CIH Cymru publication gives fresh insights about the role of housing advice in the hospital discharge planning process.
Professional working across housing, health and social care in a variety of role were interviewed alongside patients and carers. Research found:
Staff do not follow a specific protocol when discharging patients – rather this is more subject to local practice and how services meet people’s individual needs.
Needs are often discussed and considered by multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs), which can sometimes include housing expertise, and although generally held in high regard, people's housing needs are often met too late.
Due to COVID-19, specialist staff were often unavailable. This meant that non-specialist staff were often relied on to feed in their advice and expertise.
The research also explored issues surrounding delayed transfers. Where delays in housing adapatations and access to support services prevented timely tranfers, delayed transfers were more likely connected to a person's condition or complications whilst in hospital.
The recommendations are aimed at Welsh Government, local health boards and housing organisations. They include:
Asking the Welsh Government to look at the supply and quality of temporary accommodation and local health boards to consider how anyone identified as needing housing advice is fast-tracked to the right information.
All actors involved in the process should develop a joint protocol to underpin information sharing, the definition of housing advice and how assessments carried out with patients and carers consider housing need.