‘Appy and healthy

New ’cold homes’ app for local health workers

15 December 2015

Health professionals in and around Bristol are using a new app to put their patients in touch with CSE and other local organisations if they appear to be struggling to stay warm at home.

Cold-related illnesses are a burden on the health service, and the aim of the app is to reduce the number of people becoming unwell because of their living conditions and the severity of these illnesses.

The app was built by CSE and is free to download to any Android phone (available on other devices soon). Download it here.

"Health professionals have frequent contact with people who are vulnerable to illness and would benefit from a warmer home" said Ian Preston who is managing the project at CSE. "This includes elderly and/or disabled people, families with young children and so on."

“'Every contact counts’ is the mantra of care work these days, and by allowing overstretched frontline workers to make referrals with just a few simple clicks the app will help us reach those who need our support,” he added.

Once referred, a patient will be contacted by a member of CSE's Home Energy Team who can offer advice on home heating, fuel bills and energy debt, and possibly access to grants for home improvements such as a new heating system or insulation.

And with a warmer home comes, hopefully, a healthier household.

This new referral system is part of CSE’s work to develop an Action on Cold Homes network across Bristol bringing together local organisations to offer people a broad range of support. So, for example, if a referred person is struggling with debt and unable to heat their home, they'll be contacted by an advisor from Talking Money for debt advice and possibly also to WE Care & Repair for home adaptations such as draught proofing to cut their energy use and bills.

Ian is hoping that the app will be used widely by people within the health service and beyond. “While designed with the health service in mind, anyone who comes into contact with someone who they believe is suffering in a cold home could use the app if they wish.”

Download the app from Google Play here.

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