Quality statement 2: Identifying people vulnerable to health problems associated with a cold home

Quality statement

Local health and social care commissioners and providers share data to identify people who are vulnerable to the health problems associated with a cold home.

Rationale

Local coordination is needed to ensure that individual people who are vulnerable to the health problems associated with cold homes can be identified. Data sharing, for example using health and social care records, professional contacts and knowledge of people who use services, can help to identify people who are vulnerable to the health problems associated with cold homes. This will enable referral to the local single‑point‑of‑contact health and housing referral service to address people's needs.

Quality measures

Structure

a) Evidence of local arrangements for multi‑stakeholder winter planning meetings for data sharing to identify people who are vulnerable to the health problems associated with a cold home.

Data source: Local data collection.

b) Evidence of local data‑sharing arrangements and analysis to enable identification of people who are vulnerable to the health problems associated with a cold home.

Data source: Local data collection.

Outcome

Identification of people who are vulnerable to the health problems associated with a cold home.

Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for service providers, health, public health and social care practitioners, and commissioners

Service providers (such as local authority departments, local NHS providers, housing organisations and voluntary organisations) ensure that data‑sharing arrangements are in place to identify people who are vulnerable to the health problems associated with a cold home. They should ensure that records can be appropriately shared and that there are local pathways in place to safely and appropriately share knowledge to identify people who are vulnerable.

Health, public health and social care practitioners (such as GPs, community nurses, health visitors and home care practitioners) ensure that they use existing information to identify people who may be vulnerable to the health problems associated with a cold home.

Commissioners (such as clinical commissioning groups, local authorities and NHS England) should commission services that share data to identify people who may be vulnerable to the health problems associated with a cold home.

What the quality statement means for patients, people using services and carers

People who may be vulnerable to the health problems caused by living in a cold home are supported by local services working together and sharing information to identify people who may be vulnerable.

Source guidance

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

People who are vulnerable to the health problems associated with a cold home

People living in cold homes who are vulnerable to the associated health problems include:

  • people with cardiovascular conditions

  • people with respiratory conditions (in particular, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and childhood asthma)

  • people with mental health conditions

  • people with disabilities

  • older people (65 and older)

  • young children (under 5)

  • pregnant women

  • people on a low income

  • people who move in and out of homelessness

  • people with addictions

  • people who have attended hospital due to a fall

  • recent immigrants and asylum seekers.

[Adapted from Excess winter deaths and illness and the health risks associated with cold homes (NICE guideline NG6) and expert opinion]

Health problems associated with a cold home

Cold homes and poor housing conditions have been linked with a range of health problems in children and young people, including respiratory health, growth and long‑term health. In older people, cold temperatures increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and circulatory problems, respiratory disease, flu and hospital admission. They also lower strength and dexterity, leading to an increase in the likelihood of falls and accidental injuries. Home temperatures also have implications for mental health because cold is linked with increased risk of depression and anxiety.

[Adapted from Local action on health inequalities evidence review 7: fuel poverty and cold home-related health problems (2014) Public Health England]