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Multiple long-term conditions

The health impacts of work, finance and housing

30 September 2019
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3 min read

We know the wider social aspects of how people live, work and age can affect their health. Portfolio Managers Rohan Martyres and Matt Towner explore how we’re developing the social risk factors strand of our programme, and the types of organisations we’re looking to work with.

We are supporting improvements to wider social aspects of how people live, work and age. 

As part of our multiple long-term conditions programme, our social risk factors strand will do two things. First, it will test specific interventions to help us achieve our goal. In doing so, we can build an evidence base for what works to improve meaningful work, financial health and housing. It will also investigate if these changes improve people’s physical and mental health. 

 

Priorities within the social context

From our work with King’s College London, we know that people living in the areas with the highest levels of deprivation develop long-term conditions earlier than those living in the most affluent areas. This means someone’s social circumstances can either slow down or speed up progression.

We have decided to focus on three social risk factors that impact health. These are: meaningful work, financial health and housing. 

Research shows that these key factors can affect the health of working-age adults and are amenable to change. These areas are our best opportunity to test if and how addressing the wider social context can:

– slow down the progression to many long-term conditions;

– and, impact the health of people in a local area.

 

Insights from research

We have recently published two pieces of research. These were to help inform the social risk factors strand, and identify areas for action.

Our research with Rocket Science highlights the importance of changes made by employers to the workplace. Changes would support the health of both those with long-term conditions and the wider workforce.

Our research with Demos shows people only seek financial support when they are in a financial crisis. At this point, the stress of the situation can trigger further health problems. 

We are currently developing how to intervene in housing, which we will share in 2020.

Our social risk factors strand will test specific interventions to help us achieve our goal. In doing so, we can build an evidence base for what works to improve meaningful work, financial health and housing.

Rohan Martyres and Matt Towner Portfolio Managers

Seeking partners

We are looking to work with partners to help us carry out work in Lambeth and Southwark focused on meaningful work and financial health.

On meaningful work, we are looking for partners to help us explore:

  • Support for employers to create health-promoting environments. It could involve activities that help people to manage their long-term conditions in the workplace. For example, giving staff opportunities to attend courses on self-management of long-term conditions. Or, making more fundamental changes to working conditions that would support health.
  • Help for people with long-term conditions to find appropriate employment and progress at work. For example, finding work that suits them. Or, helping them to improve their working conditions, take on new responsibilities and learn new skills.

We are also interested in working with organisations that can help us test interventions to improve the financial health of people at risk. This could mean:

  • Providing money, debt or welfare advice tailored to a specific group of people. For example, to Portuguese speaking people with diabetes who are living in Lambeth and Southwark.
  • Embedding money, debt or welfare advice within the healthcare pathway before, through and post-diagnosis of long-term conditions. For example, a partnership between financial health advisers and a social-prescribing GP clinic.
  • Giving people more flexibility in drawing down salaries or paying major bills to help them better manage their cash flow. For example, a partnership with housing associations, gas and electricity providers, or employers.

If you have an idea, we are keen to hear from you.