Warm Homes for Lungs Project in St Helens

The St Helens Community COPD Rapid Response Service, which is run by Whiston Hospital (now part of Mersey and West Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust) launched the Warm Homes project in February 2023.

The project used health data to help identify patients in the lowest 10% of deprivation for targeted preventative support from the Community COPD team, to help improve their respiratory health and reduce their risk of a hospital admission.

The service has been providing proactive home visits to assess and optimise care for patients who are:

  • living with COPD

  • experiencing fuel poverty

  • identified as having a risk of an emergency admission at 50% or more (as defined by John Hopkins risk model) due to poor respiratory health

The service has taken a very holistic approach – not only referring patients into respiratory support services, but also working with a wide range of multi-agency partners to help them with things like heating their homes and staying warm – since cold conditions are such a key factor in declining respiratory health.

Impact to date

Within its first six months, the project achieved the following outcomes:

  • 100% of patients received home visits from COPD nurses

  • 100% of patients were referred to the wellbeing team and to the affordable warmth team for further support

  • 100% patients received winter warmth packs

  • 16%were able to be referred onto the pulmonary rehab team

  • 21%were onboarded to the telehealth COPD support service

  • 76%received £500 payments from the household support funds (and will be eligible for further payments this winter)

  • A total of £32,500 of additional support was paid to these struggling households

The service has also had a huge amount of positive feedback from both its patients, and also staff members who describe the role as being extremely rewarding because they are making a real difference to each individual’s health and overall quality of life.

The service expects to have an even greater impact as it heads into its first full winter, and with plans to further expand support to this vulnerable patient cohort by including even more local partners such as social housing, local foodbanks, and social prescribers.