Well Homes is a housing coordination service which links Wellington whānau that are experiencing problems with their housing to support from Regional Public Health, Tu Kotahi Maori Asthma Trust, and Sustainability Trust. Whānau referred to the Well Homes service are visited by a housing assessor, who identifies potential housing issues and provides education on healthy housing. The assessor works with the client to develops a whānau plan, which may include referral to social housing, referral for financial assistance, and referral for provision of insulation, heating, curtain banks, beds, bedding, carpets, and rugs.
In the SHELTER research project He Kāinga Oranga investigated the effects on whānau of receiving the Well Homes housing intervention. Each year over 2,400 children are hospitalised due to diseases associated with poor quality housing in the Greater Wellington Region. For over one-third of these children, this will be a repeat hospitalisation.1 Previous research has shown that improving a number of housing features – installing insulation, heating, and safety measures – are cost effective methods of improving health.2–7
While previous studies have been crucial to building a picture of the preventable burden of disease attributable to housing, identifying and resolving multiple housing issues at the same time through a coordinated housing intervention like Well Homes is a practical use of resources. This research will enable us to quantify the effects of this multifaceted intervention. We will draw on hospitalisation data to measure the effects of receiving the Well Homes intervention on the health of children previously hospitalised due to health conditions related to housing. Interviews with Well Homes clients and providers will identify additional effects of the Well Homes intervention on whānau life.
- Kelly A, Denning-Kemp G, Geiringer K, et al. Exposure to harmful housing conditions is common in children admitted to Wellington Hospital. N Z Med J. 2013;(December):108-126.
- Preval N, Chapman R, Pierse N, Howden-Chapman P, Housing T. Evaluating energy, health and carbon co-benefits from improved domestic space heating: A randomised community trial. Energy Policy. 2010;38(8):3965-3972.
- Free S, Howden-Chapman P, Pierse N, Viggers H. More effective home heating reduces school absences for children with asthma. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2010;64(5):379-386.
- Chapman R, Howden-Chapman P, Viggers H, O’dea D, Kennedy M. Retrofitting houses with insulation: a cost–benefit analysis of a randomised community trial. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2009;63(4):271-277.
- Telfar-Barnard L, Preval N, Howden-Chapman P, Young C, Grimes A, Denne T. The Impact of Retrofitted Insulation and New Heaters on Health Services Utilisation and Costs, Pharmaceutical Costs and Mortality: Evaluation of Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart. Wellington: He Kainga Oranga/Housing and Health Research Programme, Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington; 2011.
- Keall MD, Pierse N, Howden-Chapman P, Guria J, Cunningham CW, Baker MG. Cost–benefit analysis of fall injuries prevented by a programme of home modifications: a cluster randomised controlled trial. Inj Prev. 2016:injuryprev-2015-041947. doi:10.1136/injuryprev-2015-041947.
- Keall M, Pierse N, Howden-Chapman P, et al. Home modifications to reduce injuries from falls in the Home Injury Prevention Intervention (HIPI) study: A cluster-randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2015;385(9964):231-238. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61006-0.