The purpose of this paper is to critically evaluate an innovative collaboration between health, housing and social care by exploring the “short stay project” apartments from service users’ perspectives and considering the effectiveness of this service model as part of enabling provision locally.
The qualitative methodology for this evaluation was interpretative phenomenological analysis (Smith, 2011), critically exploring service users’ personal lived experience of the “short stay project”. Three service users (n=3) participated in semi-structured interviews.
This study has identified the “short stay project” can prevent admission into and facilitate discharge from care and health services by offering a temporary stay in self-contained, adapted accommodation. Service users found value in staying at the apartments for differing reasons. However, practitioners must address service users’ emotional and social needs as well as physical needs to reduce the risk of occupational deprivation.
Sample size is not fully representative of the total population making transferability limited.
This research found there is demand for temporary housing provision for service users with health, housing and/or social care needs.
Key drivers of demand for the service are social inequalities relating to homelessness, poverty and gender-based violence rather than the health-related issues that could have been expected. Further research into the development of effective integrated services which maximise service users’ wellbeing and occupational performance is recommended.
Service models which integrate health, housing and social care can be innovative and maintain service users’ independence and wellbeing in the community. Commissioners across health, housing and social care could utilise the Better Care Fund to deliver integrated services to meet rising demands.
A huge thank you to both Fiona Howlett for her invaluable support throughout this process and the “short stay project” team as without their ongoing commitment to the service, this research would not have been possible.
Brown, H. and Howlett, F. (2017), "A critical evaluation of the “short stay project” – service users’ perspectives", Housing, Care and Support, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 71-84. https://doi.org/10.1108/HCS-02-2017-0002
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