Better outcomes, lower costs: implications for health and social care budgets of investment in housing adaptations, improvements and equipment: a review of the evidence

Document type
Turner, Lynn; Heywood, Frances
Office for Disability Issues
Date of publication
1 May 2007
Disabled people, Health Services, Social Work, Social Care and Social Services, Social Policy
Social welfare
Material type

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This report considers, in the context of current demographic changes in society, any policy with the power to reduce the costs of health and social care for older and disabled people and enable resources to serve more people must be of interest to government. If the policy also produces improved quality of life outcomes, it will be all the more welcome. The Audit Commission and other bodies have asserted that increased investment in housing adaptations and equipment would bring significant savings to the National Health Service and to social services budgets, but funding and structures, compounded by the lack of clear evidence, have created barriers to such investment. To tackle one part of this problem, this report has gathered the evidence together through a search of the international literature, in the disciplines of medicine, housing studies, ageing studies, economics, health-economics and occupational therapy, and through use of case studies from the grey literature. The report considers saving measures through prevention of future outlay, reducing or removing outlay, reduction of waste and achieving better outcomes. The research suggests that not all adaptations and improvements save money, but where they are an alternative to residential care, or prevent hip fractures or speed hospital discharge; where they relieve the burden of carers or improve the mental health of a whole household, they will save money, sometimes on a massive scale.

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