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Extra care reduces NHS and social care costs, according to Aston research

ExtraCare Charitable Trust

31 July 2015

Combining housing, health and social care services can have a dramatic impact on the quality of life of older people while cutting costs at the same time, Aston University research has revealed. 

The results of a three-year study, conducted by the Aston Research Centre for Healthy Ageing (ARCHA), highlight the myriad benefits of allowing older people to remain independent while living in ExtraCare Charitable Trust Villages with dedicated on-site support and care services. 

The ExtraCare Villages, located across the Midlands, Buckinghamshire and the North, offer an alternative to traditional care homes for those aged over 55. Every apartment and all facilities in each Village are fully accessible for wheelchair users and people with impaired mobility. All residents are encouraged to keep fit and active, engage in community discussions about how the Villages are run and are offered a wide range of fun, sociable activities such as gardening, woodwork, arts and crafts, Tai Chi and wheelchair aerobics. 

The Aston study looked into the well-being of 162 new ExtraCare residents from the moment they arrived at the Village, with quantitative measurements of health, cognitive ability and mobility taken at the point of entry and again at three, 12 and 18 months. Health and social care usage and costs were also monitored. 

Key findings of the report included:

  • NHS costs for ExtraCare residents were cut by 38% over 12 months compared with their costs when they first moved in
  • ExtraCare residents experienced a significant reduction in the duration of unplanned hospital stays, from 8-14 days to 1-2 days
  • Routine GP appointments for ExtraCare residents fell 46% after a year
  • Numbers of people with clinical levels of depression fell by 64.3% over 18 months
  • Of the residents who arrived at ExtraCare in a ‘pre-frail’ condition, 19% had returned to a ‘resilient’ state 18 months later
  • After 18 months, residents experienced a 10% improvement in their autobiographical memory – the ability to recall events, objects and people  

Dr Carol Holland, Director of ARCHA, said: “The ultimate aim of this research is to inform the best possible health and well-being outcomes for the general public and learn from what is being done. The Extra Care Charitable Trust model combines health and care, support and preventative strategies, in an environment in which active engagement is very accessible. Much can be learned from them.” 

Chair of the ExtraCare Charitable Trust, Martin Shreeve, said: “We believe our long-sighted approach to older peoples’ housing and health pays dividends. We have developed this model for more than 25 years and it’s not just another version of ‘sheltered’ or ‘extra-care’ housing. 

“This is unique and it’s the real ‘extra-care’ – it offers our residents an enriching and independent lifestyle and reduces pressure on the public purse. It’s time for funders and policy makers to get behind this model which has become so popular with older people.” 

ExtraCare is a not-for-profit charity governed by a board of Trustees – experienced advisors in housing, care, business and finance. The Charity’s surpluses are re-invested in helping to provide new ExtraCare communities and upgrading existing locations. 

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For further media information, please contact Jonathan Garbett, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or j.garbett@aston.ac.uk.