Home & Well

Citizens Advice Hampshire

Supporting Hampshire and Isle of Wight residents to return to safe homes after hospital stays

Our project at a glance

  • Strategic priority area: Targeting geographic communities most at risk of fuel poverty
  • Support target: 11,250 households over five years
  • Duration: April 2021 to March 2026
  • Investment: £694,751 over five years
  • Forecast SROI: £3.45

As a key programme partner, SGN helps us provide a vital service to our vulnerable clients. For example, we referred a client who could not afford to use their old-style electric heaters to SGN’s Help to Heat scheme for a free gas connection. In their own words, the client said: ‘Gas central heating would make all the difference to us and our young child, we cannot thank you enough’.

Denize Smith

Home & Well Adviser, Citizens Advice East Hampshire

Why we’re working together

Readmissions of vulnerable patients make up one in five of all hospital admissions. 

The Home & Well programme supports residents in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to return home as quickly and easily as possible after a hospital stay and, importantly, ensures they have a safe and comfortable home environment that will help them to continue to recover rather than relapse and return to hospital. 

As well as people in hospital, the service is also targeting those in primary care. By providing the patient with the necessary support to return to a safe and warm home after their immediate health needs are addressed, it tackles issues which would prevent that. For example, if a patient had amassed energy debts or didn’t have heating at home.

In participating in the award-winning Home & Well partnership, we’ve joined a unique collaboration with Citizens Advice Hampshire, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Integrated Care System, Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks, Portsmouth Water, Southern Water and South East Water.

With our support, patients across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight now receive additional energy-related help and safeguarding from Citizens Advice. This includes direct services we provide such as locking cooker valves, CO alarms and access to our Help to Heat scheme, as well as access to our network of referral partners who can provide broader support.

Project objectives

  • Upskilling Citizens Advice advisers to provide patients with energy-related help and safeguarding 
  • Registering patients for the Priority Services Register
  • Preventing patients from entering fuel poverty as a result of extended hospital stays
  • Alleviating pressures on the NHS by reducing the length of hospital stays and hospital readmissions 

How we’re working together

One-to-one energy advice and safeguarding

When a patient leaves hospital or is referred by a GP, the Citizens Advice team reviews the household’s utility bills to help them maximise the benefits on offer from energy suppliers. The advisers also help patients apply to the Priority Services Register and provide fuel poverty and water bill guidance.

Holistic support for vulnerable households

In addition to energy advice, the Home & Well service brings together a network of local partners to provide wraparound support for vulnerable Hampshire and Isle of Wight residents. As well as supporting households facing fuel and water poverty, Citizens Advice advisers also signpost residents to services helping to tackle additional issues such as housing, employment and relationships

How to get involved 

Accessing the Home & Well service

Our VMCA partners operating in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight can refer vulnerable patients to the Home & Well Remote Service through the Citizens Advice Hampshire website

Becoming a Home & Well partner

The Home & Well partnership is a collaboration of local NHS organisations and utility companies working together to ensure patients leaving hospital are supported to return to and remain in a safe and comfortable home after a hospital stay. It also supports Hampshire residents who are at risk of being admitted into hospital. 

If you support vulnerable patients in the region who need support, please contact Megan Burns at mburns@citahants.org.

With concerns about the overall cost of living, the service is well placed to offer the right help at the right time, so it’s been great to see the scheme expanded across more hospital sites allowing more residents to benefit from the support. One of the core ambitions for us as a new Integrated Care System, and as partners working together, is to tackle health inequalities and the Home & Well service supports this ambition by equipping vulnerable people with the necessary support to live safely and independently.

Tim Cooling

Strategic Partnerships Lead, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care Board