Improving people's homes leads to less hospitals admissions

A significant research study has found that home improvements have real health benefits for the families occupying them.

A study of 9,256 properties in south Wales, which took place between 2009 and 2014, found a substantial decrease in the number of hospital admissions for those living in improved homes which met the Welsh Housing Quality Standards.

92.5% of the homes were improved by at least one measure such as new heating systems, wall or loft insulations, new kitchens and bathrooms and new windows. The research shows different reduction rates in hospital admissions across different age groups and improvement measures, Sarah Rodgers, Professor of Epidemiology at Swansea University states:

“We first looked at the health of tenants aged 60 years and over. For this group, there was a decrease of up to 39 per cent in emergency admissions for cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses, as well as fall and burn injuries.

she goes on to add:

“Previous studies have shown that damp homes have more allergens, and other causes of respiratory ill health. We found that improvements to electrical systems – including fitting extractor fans in kitchens and bathrooms – contributed to the largest reduction (57%) in respiratory-related admissions. This leads us to believe the removal of damp from homes using extractor fans was probably an important mechanism behind many of the reduced admissions. And that damp removal improvements are important as part of a whole home intervention.”

Stuart Fairlie Technical & Operations Director of Elmhurst Energy states: “this research is fantastic and backs up similar smaller trials with NHS trusts in the NE of England being able to improve vulnerable patient’s homes with improvements such as boilers and insulation measures. Each home is different and it is essential that the right measures go into the right home for the right occupants, for example installing double glazing is good for comfort, but ventilation provision must be addressed as part of the solution to prevent a build up of damp. It is why we at Elmhurst have always suggested that whole home assessments are required so that the right solutions are made. This research shows that improvements will help families live better lives and save the NHS money; and as we know the homes will be warmer, more efficient, use less energy, save money, and reduce carbon emissions, what is not to like?”

“We are hopeful that the Each Home Counts review  is going to ensure that homes throughout the UK have a quality assured way to improve them, but not in a singular manner as many current policies dictate, but as a whole home solution.”

For more information:

Independent Newspaper Report:

The Conversation:

Welsh Housing Quality Standard:

Each Home Counts:

Article Published: 6th July 2018

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