Partnership case study: ‘Care and Repair’ by Orbit

Orbit Care and Repair helps older people, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups to remain living independent and safely in a home of their choice. It does this through the delivery of housing options advice and information service working in partnership with health, housing and social care partners across Suffolk.

Our challenge

The current process for delivering Disabled Facilities Grants is complex and lengthy. We work to:

  • reduce duplication and therefore unnecessary delays
  • improve the ways that health, housing and social care services can work together to deliver support in isolated and rural communities
  • support hospital discharge teams in reducing timescales for people returning to a safe home following hospital treatment
  • improve access to housing information and advice
  • improve funding options available for older people to access in repairing and adapting their home to remain safely and independently
  • allow older people to make informed decisions about where they want to live
  • reduce slips, trips and falls within the home

Our solution

We have changed the face of housing options delivery in Suffolk. We operate a holistic housing options approach, which involves completing assessments of need for minor equipment, financial and home safety support, and providing other services including, advice on income maximisation, alternative accommodation, support with living with isolation, and support with complex needs such as hoarding. We have implemented one consistent process (reduced from 7 Local Authority processes), integrating occupational therapists within the team, removing duplication, and reducing timescales from 104 weeks to 26 weeks. We have enabled early hospital discharge by supplying and installing minor equipment and home safety checks in people’s homes, and have provided alternative housing options to give tenants greater choice.

Our impact

We have a series of measures in place for the delivery of minor/major adaptations as part of a programme to reduce timescales. We record and measure feedback from customers and other organisations to help shape the way services are delivered and the impact the service has on peoples’ lives. We measure the financial savings made to Adult Social Care’s care budget through the provision of adaptations to customers’ homes, and the impact the service had had on the lives of the people we help/support. We also measure response times to requests from hospital discharge teams to enable a patient to be discharged home safely through the provision of minor equipment. Our customers are successfully able to maintain independent living, and are well informed about alterative options to meet their needs. We also measure the proportion of our customers who are supported with alternative housing options, re-housed into suitable alternatives or who gain access to alternative financial support.

Our partners

Orbit ‘Care and Repair’ is a partnership between Orbit, Suffolk County Council and the 7 local borough/district councils across the county.

The partnership has integrated the occupational therapy assessment of need role previously carried out by Adult Social Care and the delivery of the Disabled Facilities Grant function previously delivered through the borough/district councils.

The partnership is better because:

  • processes have been streamlined
  • communication has improved
  • timescales have been reduced
  • customers have more choice
  • more customers will receive the service

Accessibility to the service has been improved by streamlining service entry points.

Our impact

We have a series of measures in place for the delivery of minor/major adaptations as part of a programme to reduce timescales. We record and measure feedback from customers and other organisations to help shape the way services are delivered and the impact the service has on peoples’ lives. We measure the financial savings made to Adult Social Care’s care budget through the provision of adaptations to customers’ homes, and the impact the service had had on the lives of the people we help/support. We also measure response times to requests from hospital discharge teams to enable a patient to be discharged home safely through the provision of minor equipment. Our customers are successfully able to maintain independent living, and are well informed about alterative options to meet their needs. We also measure the proportion of our customers who are supported with alternative housing options, re-housed into suitable alternatives or who gain access to alternative financial support.

Our role

Orbit has been providing Home Improvement Agency (HIA) services for approximately 25 years; our HIAs work with 10,000 people each year, 95% not in an Orbit property, and deliver the aids and adaptations service to Orbit residents.  The HIAs work with customers to consider alternative housing options, including Orbit sheltered and extra care in addition to that provided by other organisations. As part of a larger housing association, the HIAs link in with networks and knowledge of teams across the organisation.  Orbit uses its community investment assets to fund new initiatives, such as the hoarding caseworkers delivered through the HIA.

Our contribution to improving health

This new approach will:

  • help local authorities provide information and advice as part of their priorities set out in the Better Care Fund
  • reduce costs to the NHS by supporting home safety advice and installation of minor/major adaptations - the average Disability Facilities Grant costs £5000 compared to £29,000 a year for residential care
  • potentially reduce the number of hours of care, through installation of adaptations, which can save £1,300 per year per person
  • reduce hospital admission by maximising speedy and efficient response rates, with small equipment and minor adaptations
  • help reduce the risk of winter deaths by providing solutions to heating and insulation problems
  • help dementia patients with assistive technology to help them remain living safely at home for longer
  • improve the links and communication with GPs, hospitals and other health stakeholders, by having occupational therapists based in the team
  • provide the opportunity for partnerships with Health and Wellbeing Boards and CCGs as part of the wider prevention agenda.