The House of Care is a visual representation of the elements that need to be in place to deliver person-centred, coordinated care through care and support planning. Where this approach has been used it has brought benefits for people with long-term conditions and for frontline staff. The coalition’s aim is to enable and support local communities to build their local House of Care.
International evidence and best practice has shown that effective care planning relies on four key elements in the local healthcare system:
- patients feeling engaged in decisions about their treatment and care and able to act on these decisions
- professionals being committed to working in partnership with patients
- systems being in place to organise resources effectively
- having a whole-system approach to commissioning health and care services
What is ‘more than medicine’?
These social interventions build on and complement clinical care, connecting the clinical consultation with interventions such as peer support groups, debt counselling, walking groups, befriending, one-to-one coaching and community cooking classes. More than medicine is a new way of thinking especially for clinical staff and the House of Care blueprint will ensure that it becomes an increasingly important aspect of support for people with long-term conditions in each community.
The House of Care illustrates the importance and interdependence of each element: if one element is weak or missing the structure is not fit for purpose. It can act as:
- a checklist – highlighting what needs to be in place
- a metaphor – emphasising that care and support planning is complex and that all the components need to be in place to make it a success
- a flexible framework – guiding each local community to build a stable house designed round the needs of local people
The House of Care approach also emphasises the importance of linking people with community activities and social networks that build confidence and provide support in their daily lives. It recognises the social as well as medical aspects of managing a long-term condition. We are calling this ‘more than medicine’.