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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-health-through-the-home/improving-health-through-the-home
The right home environment is essential to health and wellbeing, throughout life. It is a wider determinant of health.
There are risks to an individual’s physical and mental health associated with living in:
- a cold, damp, or otherwise hazardous home (an unhealthy home)
- a home that doesn’t meet the household’s needs due to risks such as being overcrowded or inaccessible to a disabled or older person (an unsuitable home)
- a home that does not provide a sense of safety and security including precarious living circumstances and/or homelessness (an unstable home)
The right home environment protects and improves health and wellbeing, and prevents physical and mental ill health. It also enables people to:
- manage their own health and care needs, including long term conditions
- live independently, safely and well in their own home for as long as they choose
- complete treatment and recover from substance misuse, tuberculosis or other ill-health
- move on successfully from homelessness or other traumatic life event
- access and sustain education, training and employment
- participate and contribute to society
The right home environment is essential to delivering NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, and local authority plans for social care. It can:
- delay and reduce the need for primary care and social care
- prevent hospital admissions
- enable timely discharge from hospital, and prevent re-admissions
- enable rapid recovery from periods of ill health or planned admissions
It is also essential to ambitions for the economy.
Enabling the right home environment for health and wellbeing is complex and needs people, communities and organisations to come together.
At a national level, almost 30 organisations representing housing, homelessness, health and care professionals have signed Improving health through the home: a memorandum of understanding.
It is the collective ambition of this partnership for professionals in local areas, working with their communities, patients, clients and customers, to explore the potential, and develop plans, to improve health through the home. The resources provided here are intended to inform and support that process.
The partnership has also developed a checklist to enable local partners to review the extent to which their plans for improved health and wellbeing recognise that the home can make a difference to outcomes, and include action to address any issues.
The home and health relationship
The home or housing circumstances present a particular risk to the health and wellbeing of:
- children, and their families
- people with long-term conditions
- people with mental health issues
- people with learning disabilities
- people recovering from ill health
- older people
- people who spend a lot of time at home such as carers
- low income households
- people who experience a number of inequalities (inclusion health groups)
There is no single source of information about the scale and nature of risks to health and wellbeing from the home for every individual or household in a local area. Instead it is necessary to bring together intelligence from a range of national and local sources to understand this. A life course approach is essential as the risks to health, home environment and housing circumstances look different for different populations.
Information should include:
- the tenure - is it rented from a private landlord, social landlord or owned by the occupier (with or without a mortgage)?
- the quality of the home - is it energy efficient and in good repair?
- the suitability of the home - is it accessible to someone with mobility problems or is it big enough?
- the stability of the home - does it provide a secure and safe environment?
- the main health risks and wider impacts
Sources of intelligence and evidence, alongside guidance to support the use of this in planning and decision making are provided in Housing for health under the headings of:
- healthy homes
- suitable homes
- stable homes
- healthy communities and neighbourhoods
You can download infographics and other resources for use in presentations of your own or to share with colleagues.
These are intended for use locally to inform conversations between sectors and professionals about the scale and nature of the homes and health relationship in your area.
The infographics cover:
- a home in which to start and develop well
- a home in which to live and work well
- a home in which to age well
The infographics are based on the 2014 to 2015 English Housing Survey (EHS) dataset. Some of the data has been superseded by a new release of some of the EHS datasets, with the full set not released until later in 2017. We understand that there will be no significant changes to data shown, but you can check the EHS datasets as appropriate.
For further information contact HealthyPeople.HealthyPlaces@phe.gov.uk.