Connecting Communities: housing at the heart of integrated health and social care in Scotland

The Gathering 2018

Year of publication
Hanover Scotland

Hanover Scotland report based on findings from an action research project to understand how the organisation, staff and residents can work with local communities to help people live the lives they want. The report gives includes feedback from a small number of interviews with residents, alongside examples of Hanover housing initiatives which have helped older residents live more active and fulfilling lives, reducing loneliness and increasing a sense of communities.

Methodology: As part of the research, a group of Hanover staff were trained to use a relationship-centred approach as developed by Professor Mike Nolan at the University of Sheffield. This describes the need for a sense of security; a sense of continuity; a sense of belonging; a sense of purpose; a sense of fulfilment and; a sense of significance. Using these principles, the Hanover research team, led by the chief executive, was able to gain an insight into the networks and connections that exist in local communities and what prompts positive emotional responses from people. The research highlighted to the team the importance of going out and speaking to residents:

"What we found was that whilst providing care and well-being is undoubtedly complicated, we are often blinded by that complexity when the answer is reassuringly simple: talk to people, support people, create communities."

The four conclusions of Hanover’s report were:

  • The home is fundamental to the wellbeing of people and the sustainability of communities. Housing is key to all efforts to integrate and improve health and wellbeing.
  • Engagement with older people when shaping services must improve and consider the emotional motivations and needs of individuals to better understand the networks and support which exists within communities.
  • Housing organisations are an untapped resource without which it will be more difficult for IJBs to achieve better health and social care outcomes as outlined by Audit Scotland.
  • It is essential that housing organisations be offered the opportunity to be fully included in the ongoing integration of health and social care.

Note: this the report focuses primarily on loneliness and wellbeing, and does not explore very supported living and social care support. Previously, issues around care funding and concerns about resulting reduced care quality have caused housing providers such as Bield to withdraw from providing care.

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