CQC and Faculty paper highlights ways to improve end of life care for homeless people

An image of a shadowy bed, with half light from a windowA report released today by the Care Quality Commission, drawing upon research from the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health, raises concerns that homeless people are struggling to access the care they need as they face the end of their lives.

People whose needs are the most overlooked are often those who are least able to advocate for themselves. A Second Class Ending highlights problems including fragmented support, inadequate services and few genuine options for homeless people in their last weeks and days of life, leaving many without the support they need.

However it also highlights numerous examples of good practice, where health and social care providers, palliative care specialists and homelessness staff have worked together to meet the significant needs of people facing this situation.

Dr Briony Hudson, Pathway Fellow and Research Associate at Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Department at UCL, comments:

“Enormous pressure is currently being placed on hostels who struggle to support people with very poor health, due to a lack of alternatives. Options for place of care and multidisciplinary working are key to improving quality of life for people experiencing homelessness, especially towards the end of their lives. We’re delighted to see the examples of good practice and joint working highlighted in this report, and there are many lessons to be learned from them.”

Stan Burridge, Pathway’s Expert by Experience Lead, was homeless for almost 20 years. He recently documented his experience of trying to see a GP whilst he was homeless for the BMJ. Stan said:

“Seeing a GP who understood homelessness was the first step to getting my life back on track. Without him, I think my health would have continued to the spiral out of control, and I could have ended up as one of the many homeless people who die an early death.”

Read the CQC report