Extra care housing delivers better outcomes at less cost than residential care for people with the same needs, an independent report is expected to conclude next month.
A draft evaluation of 19 Department of Health-funded extra care housing schemes, seen by Community Care, found extra care can improve older people's health and well-being and offer them improved choice and independence.
While extra care was a cheaper option than residential care for people with similar levels of need, with average costs at £374 a week compared to £409 a week, it also achieves better outcomes, the report is expected to say.
The study, by the Housing Learning & Improvement Network (Housing LIN) and the University of Kent's Personal Social Services Research Unit, is also expected to say that extra care can help reduce emergency hospital admissions - saving millions for both the NHS and social care.
However, to roll the model out across the country councils will need the NHS and housing providers to think more strategically to encourage more choice in housing with care options.
Housing LIN director Jeremy Porteus said this would include a shift in mindset among councils.
"Care and support should be shaped around people's lifestyles and housing choices - not the other way round," he said.
The evaluation studied the impact of the DH's £227m extra care housing fund, which funded schemes from 2006-8 to pump-prime the market.
It followed more than 900 people who entered extra care over a 30-month period and contrasted these with two studies of people in care homes in 1995 and 2005.
The findings are expected to show extra care residents had a slight improvement in physical functioning six months after moving in, while cognitive functioning remained stable. This contrasted with slight declines in both physical and cognitive functioning among residents with similar needs in care homes.
Death rates were lower within 30 months of moving in than for those moving into residential care and residents were happy with the independence, security and sense of community provided in their new homes.
Alongside the report, Housing LIN and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services will publish a pack containing practical tools to help local authorities, health organisations, providers, funders and developers deliver extra care housing.
What is extra care?
Extra care housing aims to meet the housing, care and support needs of older people, while helping them to maintain their independence in their own private accommodation. It combines purpose-built housing for older people with onsite flexible care that adapts to residents' changing needs and allows them to retain their independence.
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