Pathway Services

Pathway staff
Pathway is the UK’s leading homeless healthcare charity. We believe that no one should be discharged from hospital on to the street.

Our model of integrated care operates within NHS services, bringing together teams of NHS, local authority and voluntary sector professionals to improve healthcare for homeless people. Each team includes a specialist GP, nurses, housing professionals and in some hospitals, Pathway Care Navigators: people who were once homeless who we train to support homeless patients.

The Pathway model provides

  • Housing and benefits advice
  • Help to recover important documents such as birth certificates, passports etc
  • Links to community services
  • Support and collaboration with other clinicians e.g. advice on drug interactions, addictions, personality issues etc.
  • Complex care planning and discharge liaison
  • Referral for addictions support
  • Help with GP registration
  • Fresh clothes, shoes and other basics (for example where these have been destroyed because of infection/infestation)
  • Help to reconnect with loved ones

We have supported 11 hospitals to implement the Pathway model, helping over 3000 patients every year, many of whom have complex combinations of physical illness, mental illness and substance misuse problems, and histories of trauma and abuse. 

In some areas Pathway teams can access specialist ‘respite care’, a place for homeless patients to recover after they’ve been in hospital, with clinical support on hand, relieving pressure on hospital bedspaces. 

Pathway teams also provide a friendly smile, chance to chat, and everyday treats like a chocolate bar, hospital TV card or book. A small donation to our Dignity in Care Fund can really brighten someone’s day. Everything we do is to help homeless patients get life back onto a better ‘Pathway’.

 

Can wine gums fight tuberculosis?
winegumsMartin was homeless and hospitalised with tuberculosis. He faced 3 months in an isolation unit. With no one to visit and no money for books or hospital TV, he was alone, ill and unhappy. Pathway’s Care Navigator bought Martin magazines and his favourite, wine gums. He visited him regularly for chats and helped him plan for his future. Without this support Martin says he would have absconded, may well have died and certainly would have spread tuberculosis on London’s streets. Who realised a wine gum could be so powerful?

 

Training and Research

Pathway provides CPD to over 500 professionals across the country every year. Our conferences, training days, networking meetings and journal papers help health and social care professionals understand homeless health, and stay abreast of the latest developments.

We train formerly homeless people to work in the NHS and support Experts by Experience, formerly homeless people, to speak up about their healthcare experiences and concerns. 

Pathway carries out research into homelessness and health to help improve services for our patients. We provide advice and support to NHS Trusts, clinical colleagues, and healthcare commissioners about assessing new services, and consulting homeless patients.
Explore our publications

 

The Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health

Delegates at the 2016 Conference of Homeless and Inclusion HealthThe Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health is a growing network of over 750 health professionals working with:

  • Homeless people
  • Vulnerable migrants
  • People selling sex
  • Gypsy and traveller communities

The Faculty has published national standards for health services (endorsed by the Royal College of Physicians), offers multi-disciplinary CPD, runs an annual international symposium, and supports a network of regional homeless healthcare hubs and special interest groups.

Explore our publications 
Learn more about The Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health

 

Why is Pathway needed?

“on the streets every day was a struggle – getting food, somewhere to sleep. The days felt empty and endless, pointless. I could feel my mental health collapsing, and eventually my body did too”

Life on the streets is hard, being homeless is extremely bad for your health. Disease rates can be ten times higher than those found in the housed population. Getting ill can also be a trigger for homelessness, through losing your job, or struggling to manage life with a mental health or addiction problem.

Pathway was founded to show that homelessness is a healthcare problem. Good health services have a vital part to play in helping people with their health, but they can also help patients address the problems that led them to the street.

Homeless patients attend A&E six times as often as housed people. They are admitted to hospital four times as often and stay twice as long. This is because they are two to three times sicker when they arrive.

Without an address it’s hard to register with services. Homeless people go to A&E because their health has deteriorated to the point of emergency, and they have no other options.

“You say you did your job . . . .but you also rebuilt my life” (Pathway patient)

With our help one central London hospital helped over half of the homeless people who were admitted to find somewhere to live, and reduced the number of days homeless patients had to stay in hospital by 11%. We reduced total ‘bed-days’ taken by homeless patients by nearly one third.

Support our work
Read our annual reports and strategic plan
Read about our history and our late founder, Aidan Halligan


A Tribute to Aidan Halligan

Professor Aidan Halligan Professor Aidan Halligan, MA MD FRCOG FFPHM MRCPI FRCC was a husband, father, surgeon, the Principal of UCLH Staff College, Director of Integrated Clinical Care at Central Manchester University Hospitals, founder and... Read More

The History of Pathway

Professor Aidan Halligan and Dr Nigel Hewett started looking at the quality of care received by homeless patients in... Read More

Current Vacancies

There are currently no vacancies at Pathway. To hear about vacancies in Pathway teams and inclusion health teams across the... Read More

Our People

Trustees Leslie Morphy OBE – Chair Leslie Morphy has had a long career largely in the not for profit... Read More

Video Library

Pathway have produced a series of short films with our hospital team members describing their work with homeless patients,... Read More

Partners

This page describes some of the main agencies we are collaborating with, and give links to some of our funders... Read More