Extra care housing can prevent the need for residential care in 50% of cases

When making a local case for extra care housing for older people, we often carry out case audits with the council’s care managers. This is a very simple but effective device which enables practitioners to reflect on what could be done differently if other services were available.

The case audit is a facilitated workshop of practitioners and managers. We take a sample of cases where the council has recently commissioned residential care. Working in pairs participants review care plans and answer a number of questions:

  • What were the amin factors that resulted in a requirement for residential care?
  • Would extra care housing have been a suitable option if it had been available at the time?
  • How could extra care housing have been a viable option?

Every time we run the workshop the findings are remarkably consistent. In approximately 50% of cases extra care housing would have been a suitable alternative to residential care. This does not mean that bad decisions were made at the time – simply that extra care housing was not available or that it was not specified or organised to meet more complex needs. Workshop participants identify building design, availability of meals, focus on dementia, and personalised technology as essential elements of effective extra care housing.