Bligh J, Cairncross L, Porteus J
The potential contribution of housing to the goals of social care has been recognised for some time, although in practice housing and social care have often existed in separate silos with little overlap and some duplication. In the context of public sector austerity and the policy push for integration, there is a need for greater understanding of the research and where the gaps are in the evidence base. SSCR commissioned a scoping review of the evidence on housing and adult social care.
While not a systematic review, the authors carried out a wide-ranging review of the available literature – academic and grey – gathering evidence published in the UK over the last 10 years from 2003. Evidence covered: housing and prevention of the need for adult social care; housing and delaying the need for adult social care; alignment of housing with the integration of health and adult social care; and cost and cost-effectiveness studies. A total of 119 articles, reports and other documents were identified as relevant and were included in the review.
The review revealed some good evidence about the role of a number of housing interventions, such as housing with care for older people, aids and adaptations, and handyperson services in preventing and/or enabling people to live independently in their own homes. There were also cost-benefit studies across the UK indicating that the former Supporting People programme yielded net benefits for most groups who use social care, mainly by the assumed delay or avoidance of long-term residential care. Most of the evidence identified focused on a particular service or intervention with regard to a specific client group – mainly older people – rather than an overarching theme such as prevention or enabling independent living. Thus, the research often reflected the actual silos that affect the sector.
The review revealed gaps in the evidence base, particularly around:
The great majority of research studies were conducted in England.