Bringing people home to Sheffield

21st November 2018

We've team up with South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA) to urge other NHS organisations across the country to consider a new model that has successfully helped people in locked out-of-area mental health inpatient units return back to Sheffield.

The LivingWell model is a ground breaking partnership betweenSYHA the Trust which has brought nearly 50 people back to Sheffield since the project began more than three years ago.

Not only does this model save money on expensive out-of-area treatment, but it enables people to receive care in the safety and comfort of their own home.

LivingWell was founded on the principle that for someone to be well physically and mentally they need to have quality housing, receive support in their local community and have access to the crucial support network that family, friends and carers offer.

Currently 50% of the country’s mental health budget goes on inpatient care for just 0.3% of the population. Nationally, if there was just a 1% decrease in the number inpatient bed days it has the potential to free up £15.4 million a year.

In Sheffield the partnership has meant that there has been a huge reduction in the number of people sent out of the city for care, with the length of stay in hospital also substantially reduced.

By working together SYHA and SHSC have been able to give people returning to Sheffield a safe and secure place to call home.

The property the person receives is theirs for as long as they need it - even if they are admitted to inpatient care they can always come back home.

Natalie Newman, Area Lead at SYHA, said: “The collaboration between SYHA and SHSC has been an insight into the future of mental health services, where health, housing and care, work together as equally invaluable partners assisting people to improve their lives.

“This partnership has been an opportunity for two-directional learning and improvement; where housing and health have seen and benefited from the exceptional skills and resources in each sector, bringing them together to create a life and sector-changing collaboration.

“At SYHA and SHSC we’re proud of the difference this innovative, seamless partnership is having on people’s lives, and we want to find like-minded collaborators so we can continue to make great things happen in other cities.”

Mike Hunter, Executive Medical Director at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Receiving care in a locked rehabilitation unit miles away from your home just isn’t the best place to recover, and certainly isn’t cost effective. When you compare the care we’re able to provide now with our old model the difference is night and day.

“I’ve done a lot of work with people who are homeless and people who have been in locked rehabilitation units and if I’ve learned anything, it’s that sorting out housing is what makes the real difference in their recovery.”

Juliann Hall, Care Health and Wellbeing Director at SYHA, said: “When you’re in your own home, you have access to your things - your books, your family, your community, and when people are sent away, that link’s broken, so they lose the very connection with the thing that makes them well.

“As a housing association, we believe that your home is the absolute bedrock to everything. And, that you cannot be well, without a good home and roof over your head.”