Pathway Team Wins National Award

The Royal London Pathway team, who support homeless people in Tower Hamlets to live healthier, better lives, has today been awarded a top accolade in the prestigious NHS Parliamentary Awards.

 

Led by GP Dr Peter Buchman, the Pathway team has beaten the rest of the country to pick up the acclaimed Excellence in Urgent and Emergency Care Award.

 

Working at The Royal London Hospital and East London NHS Foundation Trust, the team were rewarded for their tireless work improving care for vulnerable homeless people.

 

The NHS Parliamentary Awards sees the NHS and MPs join forces to honour some of the biggest achievements in health and social care from across the country.

 

Dr Peter Buchman said:

“We are absolutely delighted to win this national award. People who are homeless often have complex needs, so they can require support from multiple agencies. We work in partnership with health, social care, legal and housing professionals to really help patients get onto a better pathway in life. Thank you for recognising the work of our small dedicated team.”

 

Jim Fitzpatrick MP, who represents Poplar and Limehouse, nominated the team. He said:

I am absolutely delighted that the Pathway Homeless Team​ are the national winners in the NHS Parliamentary Awards. This is well-deserved and a great example of joint working between ELFT, Barts Health and the Clinical Commissioning Group to truly support homeless people who are among the most vulnerable in Tower Hamlets. Congratulations to everyone involved.”

 

The Pathway Team are based at The Royal London Hospital and has the ultimate aim of ensuring homeless people cared for by the hospital do not get discharged back to the street, but instead are found other options for housing, healthcare and ongoing support in the community. When an individual admitted to hospital is ready to leave, the team will work to arrange a smooth discharge to a safe place.

 

The team also encourage rough sleepers and people in temporary housing to register with a doctor at Health E1 Homeless Medical Centre in Brick Lane in Aldgate.

 

Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said:

“It has once again been a privilege to celebrate with some of the extraordinarily dedicated and selfless health and care heroes who make the NHS what it is today – the much-loved institution that our patients say is what makes them most proud to be British.

 

“From those who have devoted their lives to helping people and supporting some of our most vulnerable, to delivering pioneering lifesaving treatments, the NHS Parliamentary awards are rightly honouring those who continue to make a huge contribution to our country, through our NHS Long Term Plan.”

 

The NHS parliamentary awards ceremony saw twelve winners honoured on Wednesday 10th July at the Palace of Westminster’s Terrace Pavilion, hosted by Dr Sara Kayat, NHS GP & TV Doctor.

New health standards to improve care for homeless and excluded people

The third edition of The Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health Standards for Commissioners and Service Providers has been launched at a meeting of health leaders in central London.

The document sets out the health challenges experienced by marginalised groups such as people who are homeless, people who well sex, people from gypsy and traveller communities, and vulnerable migrants. It calls for the incorporation of values such as compassion and continuity of care to support integrated collaborative systems that improve patient outcomes.

The document has been endorsed by 14 medical Royal Colleges and health bodies, including the RCP, RCGP and RCPsych.

This unprecedented level of support demonstrates positive action towards the commitment made by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (A0MRC). In 2017 the AoMRC made a joint statement with The Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health pledging that medical Royal Colleges would support patients to improve their health, not only through medical treatment, but by providing advocacy, inter-professional working and engagement with public health.

Professor Dame Jane Dacre, past President of the Royal College of Physicians, said:

“Addressing the social determinants of health is an essential component of effective health care. New ‘duties to refer’ imposed by the Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 present a real opportunity for secondary care to contribute to integrated care, these standards explain clearly how to do this well.”

The launched, attended by 70 delegates included presentations and discussion from Professor Dame Jane Dacre, Dr Nigel Hewett OBE, Jon Sparkes CEO of Crisis, and Mo Elmi, an ‘Expert by Experience’ who uses his experiences of homelessness and health issues to train medical professionals.

 

Smiles from the Streets

The Homeless People Teaching Dentists

Image of a red toothbrush on a blue background
Photo by Alex on Unsplash

Dentists will be the ones in the chair on Friday, when formerly homeless people take over as dental teachers at a special meeting in Birmingham.

‘Homeless and Inclusion Oral Health’, supported by Health Education England Dental Section, Pathway and The Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health Dental Subgroup will bring together nearly 150 young dentists, doctors, commissioners and formerly homeless people, to discuss helping vulnerable patients.

70% of homeless people have lost teeth since becoming homeless and almost all have tooth decay problems. Janine Doughty is a dentist and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Fellow who is chairing the event:

“Getting access to a dentist when you’re homeless can be hard. Tooth pain is pushing homeless people to desperate measures, like trying to pull out their own teeth. Nobody should suffer this way. Today will help dentists across the Midlands to develop skills to help the people who need it most”

Homeless health charity Pathway ran a pilot project, restoring smiles to homeless people. Stan Burridge was homeless for many years, he developed, managed and participated in the scheme, which he described as ‘life changing’.

“The biggest difference for me has been food. I had to cut it into small pieces that I could swallow whole, it’s embarrassing, and not being able to chew impacts on the taste. Now I have a full set of dentures. Having false teeth isn’t perfect, but as least I can enjoy eating, and I can chew most things.”

Stan will be presenting at the conference, presenting his work on supporting homeless people who are frightened of dentists. The day also includes sessions on helping people who have been sexually abused, and chance to meet former British Dental Association Chair, Janet Clarke MBE to discuss starting new services.

‘Homeless and Inclusion Oral Health’ takes place on 23 November 2018.

Hostel toolkit helping homeless people facing death

A single candle flame
Image courtesy of freeimages.com

Researchers have launched an online toolkit to help hostel staff identify and support homeless people who are  facing death.

www.homelesspalliativecare.com will give hostel staff caring for terminally ill homeless patients high quality information and advice with guides, tools and activities to help plan care and provide support.

The free resource was created by a partnership between Pathway, Marie Curie Palliative Care Research department (UCL), St Mungo’s and Coordinate My Care.

The group’s previous report, published in Palliative Medicine, revealed that hostel staff often care for homeless people with terminal conditions and complex needs, despite not having palliative care training. They face huge emotional and physical burdens with minimal support and limited resources.

In response, the team developed a two-day training course for hostel staff, recently published in Nurse Education Today. The course was tested with staff at London homeless hostels, and improved their confidence and knowledge.

However, the team’s work has shown that training sessions aren’t enough, the next stage of the project will explore new models of training and support.

Dr Briony Hudson, Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Department at UCL, said:

“The deaths of homeless people are often perceived as sudden, untimely and undignified. This can be very traumatic for everyone involved, especially hostel staff, as they are often left to support people who are very unwell, even when they have high care needs, due to a lack of suitable alternative places to live.”

“One of the reasons homeless people are dying without support is that they are not recognised as having a terminal illness. Throughout this toolkit we suggest that concern about a client’s deteriorating health should act as a trigger for action, rather than waiting for a palliative or terminal diagnosis. We hope this resource will be helpful in supporting homeless people.”

Alex Bax, Chief Executive, Pathway, said:

“Pathway is delighted to have hosted this hugely important work, helping to improve care for seriously ill homeless people facing the end of life. We hope this new toolkit will help the many services that work with homeless people to at least improve the quality of care and support provided to people who have had faced a traumatic and often foreshortened life.  At the very least a civilised society should seek to provide dignity in end of life for people who have had so little before.”

Professor Bee Wee, Consultant in palliative medicine at Oxford University, commented:

“I’m absolutely delighted to welcome this online resource, which supports staff working to support people who are homeless who are entering the last stages of their lives. It is a truly valuable contribution to our collective efforts to improve palliative and end of life care for all.”

The research was funded by The Oak Foundation and hosted by Pathway,  with support from Marie Curie,  St Mungo’s and Coordinate My Care. The online toolkit was funded by a grant from UCL Innovation and Enterprise.

Click here to find out more about Pathway’s work on homelessness and palliative care.


Additional quotes

Simon Jones, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at Marie Curie, said: “Dying in familiar surroundings, in comfort, with dignity and with those we love and who love us is what we want for our own deaths and those close to us.  Sadly, very rarely is this something that someone who is homeless will experience. There is no reason why a homeless person should not have compassionate care at the end of their lives and a dignified death – this resource brings us one step closer to making this happen.”

Howard Sinclair, St Mungo’s Chief Executive, said: “It’s now a decade since St Mungo’s began the first palliative care service in the homelessness sector, working alongside Marie Curie. We recognised a need to support clients to make informed choices about their care, as well as supporting staff and other clients affected by someone close to them approaching the end of their life.

“This new toolkit brings together essential expertise from across the homelessness and health sectors, ensuring people approaching the end of their life will be treated with the dignity and respect they are due. I hope this resource is in itself a legacy to those who have died, and to what we have learnt from them about loss, bereavement and improving our care for the future.”

 


Notes to Editor

About the research

  • The objective of the research was to pilot and evaluate the impact of a two-day training course for hostel staff around supporting homeless people with palliative care needs.
  • 21 frontline staff from two London homeless hostels took part in the training – pre and post training data was collected.
  • The training was found to be useful for improving knowledge, confidence, openness and work-related stress. However, one-off training isn’t enough.
  • In response, the team developed an online toolkit to share resources and information which can be accessed at homelesspallaitivecare.com
  • Next steps of the project include building communities of support for frontline homelessness and health staff – exploring ways to embed training into routine practice for staff by developing links between local palliative care, primary care and homelessness services to better support staff consistently and promote multi-disciplinary working.

About Pathway

Pathway works to improve healthcare for homeless people. The charity has helped the NHS to create 11 homelessness teams in hospitals across England, supporting over 3000 patients every year. Pathway also develops models to facilitate improvements in patient care, carries out research in new and developing areas, provides training for healthcare professionals and supports specialist commissioning. Pathway also hosts The Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health, a network of over 900 health and social care professionals providing support for homeless people, vulnerable migrants, gypsy and traveller communities and people in the sex industry.


About St Mungo’s

St Mungo’s provides a bed and support to more than 2,600 people each night who are either homeless or at risk of homelessness. As a charity and housing association, we work to prevent homelessness, through more than 250 projects including emergency services, supported housing, specialist physical and mental health services and advice, skills and work services. We believe everyone should have a place to call home and be able to fulfil their hopes and ambitions.


About Marie Curie

Marie Curie is the UK’s leading charity for people with any terminal illness. The charity helps people living with a terminal illness and their families make the most of the time they have together by delivering expert hands-on care, emotional support, research and guidance.

Marie Curie employs more than 2,700 nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals, and with its nine hospices around the UK, is the largest provider of hospice beds outside the NHS.

The Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Department at UCL is an internationally recognised centre of research with a team of over 20 full-time researchers. The department receives core funding from Marie Curie and also undertakes research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), the Alzheimer’s Society and other research funders. The department has particular research strengths in the areas of palliative care for people with dementia, prognostication in advanced cancer and the management of cancer-related fatigue.

Digital Revolution in Homeless Healthcare

Pathway staff celebrating the release of the EMIS template

Pathway has introduced the first dedicated digital health-screening template to help health services supporting homeless people.

Following two years of development with EMIS Health, the template is now available free of charge to organisations using the EMIS Web clinical system. It was supported by 11 specialist homeless healthcare services for use by 200 staff.

Developers aim to roll the template out across the UK, and hopes it will ultimately relieve pressure on hard-pressed hospital departments.

The template enables doctors and health workers to create and maintain a detailed picture of a homeless person’s health, capturing vital information including clinical history, mental health and addiction issues, as well as details on housing and financial status. The template utilises national clinical coding and is ‘SNOMED CT ready’.

In the past hospitals were using different codes and record systems, resulting in inconsistent record-keeping, that meant some homeless people were not receiving the best treatment.

Samantha Dorney-Smith, Pathway Nursing Fellow, pictured here with members of Pathway teams, has been shortlisted for a Nursing Times award for her work leading the project. She said:

“Homeless people are five times more likely to attend A&E and four times more likely to be admitted to hospital than the housed population. The template will enable doctors to see patients’ health priorities, provide more effective treatment and help relieve pressure on the NHS by reducing bed days and treatment costs”

She says it will also enable the NHS to accurately track and analyse illness and infection rates amongst the homeless population: “The template will make it much easier to commission large-scale health services, treating patients who are homeless more effectively, economically and on a much larger scale. It has the potential to be a real game changer.”

Mo became homeless after being seriously injured in an accident. A year on, he is safely housed and helped Pathway with developing the template. He said:

“Comorbidities hurt patients and cost the NHS a great deal of money, so it’s important that we capture and use data in ways that really help people. Having my health record follow me would have made diagnosis and treatment quicker, and it probably would have saved the NHS money too.”

Dr Shaun O’Hanlon, Chief Medical Officer at EMIS Group said:

“We have a long-standing relationship with Pathway and were pleased to offer our expertise free of charge to help create this vital template. With homeless people statistically 10 times more likely to die early than the rest of the population, there is a real need for this vulnerable group to receive specialist help, and this template will assist clinicians in driving up standards of care.”

Can Pathway ‘Bag’ Your Vote?

Pathway calls on Brighton shoppers to help homeless patients

A nurse and doctor talking to a homeless patient sitting on a hospital bed

Pathway, a small charity helping seriously ill homeless people, has been shortlisted for a supermarket charity scheme across Brighton and Hove. Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ gives money raised from carrier bag sales to community projects. Pathway is one of three groups that has been shortlisted for a grant of up to £4000.  

 The Pathway team at Brighton and Sussex University Hospital helps homeless patients to:  

 Find accommodation, 

  • Sort out financial problems,  
  • Register with a GP, 
  • Reconnect with lost family and loved ones.  

 Without help from Pathway teams, many hospitals would be forced to discharge homeless patients to sleep rough after treatment, running the risk of their illness returning.  Brighton and Sussex University Hospital is one of only 11 hospitals across England to offer this specialist support.

During May and June Tesco shoppers in Brighton will be able to vote for Pathway and other shortlisted charities using a token given to them at the checkout each time they shop. Alex Bax, Chief Executive of Pathway said: 

“Your token in the box can make a real difference to homeless people. A little bit of help from a Pathway team can help people get life back on track.” 

 Bags of Help has already given over £36 million to nearly 8000 projects across the UK. Alec Brown, Head of Community at Tesco, said: 

  “We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for May and June. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see these come to life in hundreds of communities.” 

Money raised by the scheme will go towards ‘Dignity in Care’ packages, making sure patients have toiletries and pyjamas during their stay, clean warm clothes when they are discharged, and bedding and crockery if they are moving into a home for the first time.  

 Ends 

 Notes to Editors 

  1. The Bags of Help initiative is supported by money raised from carrier bag sales in Tesco stores.  
  2. The scheme is administered by Groundwork. 
  3. Bags of Help funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities. Anyone can nominate a project and organisations can apply online. For more information please visit: www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp 
  4. Customers can vote for Pathway at the following Tesco stores:  

6012    Brighton – Queen’s Road Tesco Express (BN1 3XF)
5321    Brighton – Jubilee Street Tesco Express (BN1 1GE)
3461    Brighton – Western Road Tesco Express (BN3 1JB)
2724    Hove – Droveway Tesco Express (BN3 6LE)
2700    Hove – Tesco Superstore (BN3 2DL)
2704    Hove – Denmark Villas Tesco Express (BN3 3TJ)
2696    Hove – Tesco Express (BN3 6NF)
6576    Hove – Westway Tesco Express (BN3 8LD)
3052    Portslade – Tesco Metro (BN41 1GB)
3447    Woodingdean – Tesco Express (BN2 6BB) 

About Pathway 

Pathway works to improve healthcare for people who are homeless. We’ve helped the NHS create 11 teams of doctors, nurses and social care professionals work across England, supporting 3500 patients every year. Pathway also develops models to facilitate improvements in patient care, carries out research in new and developing areas, provides training for healthcare professionals and supports specialist commissioning. The charity hosts The Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health, a network of over 1000 professionals involved in healthcare for people on the edges of society. 

 

Can Pathway ‘Bag’ Your Vote?

Homeless health charity asks for help in Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ fundraising initiative  

 Pathway, a local group helping homeless people with serious illnesses has been shortlisted for a major supermarket charity scheme across the City. Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ gives money raised from carrier bag sales to community projects. Pathway is one of three groups that has been shortlisted for a grant of up to £4000.  

In London there are 6 Pathway teams in hospitals helping homeless patients to find accommodation, sort out financial problems and reconnect with lost family and loved ones. Without their help, many hospitals would be forced to discharge homeless patients to sleep rough after treatment, where many become seriously ill. 

 During November and December Tesco shoppers across the City will be able to vote for Pathway and other shortlisted charities using a token given to them at the checkout each time they shop. Alex Bax, Chief Executive of Pathway said 

 “Your token in the box can make a real different to the lives of people who are homeless. A little bit of help from a Pathway team has been proven to improve health outcomes for homeless patients, and improve housing status long after the support has been given.” 

Dr Peter Buchman, Clinical Lead for the Pathway homeless team at The Royal London Hospital said:

“Votes for Pathway will make a huge difference for homeless people in Tower Hamlets, funding ‘Dignity in Care’ packages containing much needed items such as toiletries and clean warm clothes for when patients are discharged. With the help of Pathway our team supports homeless patients at The Royal London Hospital to find accommodation, sort out financial problems and reconnect with lost family and loved ones. Without this we would be forced to send them to sleep rough after treatment, where many are at risk of becoming seriously unwell again.”

 Bags of Help has already given over £36 million to nearly 8000 projects across the UK. Alec Brown, Head of Community at Tesco, said: 

  “We are absolutely delighted to open the voting for November and December. There are some fantastic projects on the shortlists and we can’t wait to see these come to life in hundreds of communities.” 

Money raised by the scheme will go towards ‘Dignity in Care’ packages, making sure patients have toiletries and pyjamas during their stay, clean warm clothes when they are discharged, and bedding and crockery if they are moving into a home for the first time.  

Ends 

 

Notes to Editors

  1. The Bags of Help initiative is supported by money raised from carrier bag sales in Tesco stores.  
  2. Bags of Help funding is available to community groups and charities looking to fund local projects that bring benefits to communities. Anyone can nominate a project and organisations can apply online. For more information please visit: www.tesco.com/bagsofhelp 
  3. The scheme is administered by Groundwork. 
  4. Customers can vote for Pathway at the following Tesco stores: 

90 Mansell Street, E1 8AL
Aldersgate Express, EC1A 4JQ
Bishopsgate Metro, EC2M 4LN
Cheapside Metro, EC2V 6EE
Holborn Viaduct Express, EC1A 2AT
St Botolphs Express, EC3A 7DH
Blackfriars Express, EC4Y 0AA
Smithfield Express, EC1A 9LA
Monument Metro, EC3M 1AE
St Pauls Express, EC2V 6ET 

 

About Pathway

Pathway works to improve healthcare for people who are homeless. We’ve helped the NHS create 11 teams of doctors, nurses and social care professionals work across England, supporting 3500 patients every year. Pathway also develops models to facilitate improvements in patient care, carries out research in new and developing areas, provides training for healthcare professionals and supports specialist commissioning.  The charity hosts The Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health, a network of over 1000 professionals and people with lived experience of exclusion, including vulnerable migrants, people who are homeless, from gypsy and traveller communities, or who sell sex. 

Excluded People Ten Times More Likely To Die Early

People excluded from mainstream society in high-income countries have a tenfold increased risk of early death, according to research from UCL, homeless health charity Pathway and an international team of experts.

Candles from www.sxc.huThe researchers found the mortality rate among socially excluded groups including homeless people, people who sell sex, prisoners and people who use hard drugs, was nearly eight times higher than the population average for men, and nearly 12 times for women. By comparison, mortality rates for 15–64 year olds living in the poorest areas of England and Wales are 2.8 times the rate of those living in the richest areas for men and 2.1 times the rate for women.

The two papers, published today in The Lancet journal, highlight the extreme rates of death and disease faced by excluded people and lay out clear evidence for interventions that can help save lives and prevent people from finding themselves in such desperate situations.

The first paper shows that excluded people are more likely to be murdered or take their own life, but also more likely to die from accidents, overdoses, infectious diseases, cancers, liver disease, heart problems and respiratory diseases. In total, researchers analysed data from 38 countries with the UK, USA, Sweden, Australia and Canada providing the highest amount of data.

The lead author of the first paper, Dr Robert Aldridge (UCL Institute of Health Informatics) said:

“We know that excluded populations suffer from lack of access to basic healthcare, but this new research shows the frightening extent of the problem: it’s much worse than we thought. People experiencing homelessness, those with drug addictions, prisoners and those who sell sex are far more likely to develop serious health problems and die early.”

Professor Andrew Hayward (UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Healthcare), senior author of the first paper and Pathway Trustee, added:

“It is no surprise that socially excluded groups have poor health outcomes but the extent of the disparities in wealthy countries is an affront to our values. Socially excluded groups are the canaries in the mine – they point to something toxic in our society.

Extreme social exclusion affects at least half a million people in England every year, but the true figure is likely to be much higher, as national datasets do not ask about these problems. Exclusion, and its health consequences, often result from many years of multiple problems such as poverty, adverse experiences and psychological trauma during childhood.”

The second paper outlines a range of interventions that work to help excluded people including drug treatment, case management, and psychological therapies. Broader work to tackle poverty, unemployment and housing problems can also prevent social exclusion but have been less well studied for their health effects.

“Our research shows how best we can support the most excluded. We urgently need investment and co-ordination between government, health services and social care providers to deliver high-quality comprehensive services in the community, on the streets and in institutional settings such as prisons and hospitals. Supportive values include providing time, building trust, promoting accessibility, fairness and equality. The inequity we have shown is preventable,”

said Ms Serena Luchenski (UCL Institute of Health Informatics & Pathway Public Health Fellow), lead author of the second paper. Dr Nigel Hewett, Medical Director of Pathway, Secretary of the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health, and senior author of the second paper added:

“There are already examples of teams working together in the integrated way that is supported by this research. These include GP and nurse led Pathway homeless teams working in hospitals, and other services who take health care to people in hostels, drop-in centres and on the streets. The challenge in the UK is that health, housing and social care are overwhelmed by austerity and find it difficult to develop the capacity to work collaboratively.”

The researchers also highlight previous studies which have shown that “housing first models”, which give people a stable place to live before addressing addiction or mental health problems, can be effective in improving health and social outcomes and reducing crime.

“The single most important thing we can do to prevent social exclusion is to tackle poverty, particularly amongst children. This is the key structural driver of homelessness and the other forms of social exclusion considered in these papers,”

said Professor Suzanne Fitzpatrick, Director of the Institute for Social Policy, Housing and Equalities Research (I-SPHERE) at Heriot-Watt University and co-author on the second paper.

“In the UK that means, at a minimum, rolling back the current programme of welfare reform cutbacks that are set to drive child poverty up substantially in the coming years. Social housing plays a vital role in mitigating the worst effects of poverty for many families, but there is a desperate shortfall. Theresa May’s recent announcement of 5,000 extra social homes per year in England is welcome but nowhere near enough.”

 

Notes to editors

For more information please contact Rowan Walker, UCL Media Relations, t.0203 108 8515 or rowan.walker@ucl.ac.uk. For out-of-hours enquiries (on Sunday 13 November) please call Chris Lane on +44 (0)7917 271364.

The health impact of social exclusion: a systematic review and meta-analysis of morbidity and mortality data from homeless, prison, sex work and substance use disorder populations in high-income countries’ is available to view on the Lancet website. It is an open access paper that is free to view.

What works in Inclusion Health: overview of effective interventions for marginalised and excluded populations’ is available to view on the Lancet website. It is free to access, but you will need to register for a free Lancet account.

 

About Pathway

Pathway works to improve healthcare for people who are homeless. We’ve helped the NHS create 11 teams of doctors, nurses and social care professionals work across England, supporting 3500 patients every year.

Pathway also develops models to facilitate improvements in patient care, carries out research in new and developing areas, provides training for healthcare professionals and supports specialist commissioning.

The charity hosts The Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health, a network of over 1000 professionals and people with lived experience of exclusion, including vulnerable migrants, people who are homeless, from gypsy and traveller communities, or who sell sex.

www.pathway.org.uk | Follow us on Twitter @PathwayUK

 

About UCL (University College London)

UCL was founded in 1826. We were the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it, and the first to provide systematic teaching of law, architecture and medicine. We are among the world’s top universities, as reflected by performance in a range of international rankings and tables. UCL currently has over 39,000 students from 150 countries and over 12,500 staff. Our annual income is more than £1 billion.

www.ucl.ac.uk | Follow us on Twitter @uclnews | Watch our YouTube channel YouTube.com/UCLTV

 

Charities Make Plea for Homeless Patients

A coalition of homeless health experts are calling upon Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt to help homeless hospital patients ahead of the new Homelessness Reduction Act.

78% of people who are homeless have one or more health problems, but fragmented NHS IT systems struggle to recording patient’s housing status or alert housing departments to homeless patients. In some cases patients have been discharged straight from hospital to sleep on the streets.

The average age of death for a homeless man is 47, for a woman it is 43. To help prevent these deaths, and unsafe discharges, homeless health charity Pathway, Crisis, The NHS London Homeless Health Programme and Professor Andrew Hayward, Director of the Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care and the Farr Institute for Health Informatics at University College London are calling for a small change to NHS IT systems, so that people entering hospital are asked where they are living, and if they are at risk of homelessness.

In 2018 the new Homelessness Reduction Act will place obligations on NHS organisations to refer patients who are at risk of homelessness for help. To make this change in time the NHS needs to act urgently to agree a standard way to record housing status.

Alex Bax, Pathway Chief Executive said:

“This simple change could help thousands of people who are homeless and in hospital get the support they need to put life back together, and help prevent many people from becoming homeless.”

Changes to systems are likely to be required ahead of the Homelessness Reduction Act, coming into force next April, which requires public bodies to help people at risk of homelessness. Specialist homelessness nurse Samantha Dorney-Smith said:

“It’s vital that health services support people who are homeless. We want people to know that health services care, and we’re here to help. Without the right support we know that homeless people often face an early death in tragic circumstances.”

Close.
Interviews and case studies are available on request

Contact

Cat Whitehouse, Communications Officer
cat.whitehouse@pathway.org.uk
020 3447 8780
www.pathway.org.uk

 

Notes to Editors

  1. A letter entitled ‘Making homelessness visible in the NHS’ was sent to The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Health on 18th October 2017 (file enclosed).
  2. The letter was accompanied by a technical note, detailing the change required to NHS IT systems.
  3. The Homelessness Reduction Act received royal assent on 27th April 2017 and comes into force in April 2018.
  4. One of the provisions in The Act places a duty on statutory bodies to refer people at risk of homelessness to services that can support them.

About Pathway

Pathway works to improve healthcare for homeless people. The charity has helped the NHS to create teams of doctors, nurses and social care professionals within 11 hospitals across England, supporting over 3500 patients who are homeless every year.

Pathway develops models to facilitate improvements in patient care, carries out research in new and developing areas, provides training for healthcare professionals and supports specialist commissioning.

The charity is also host to The Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health, a network of over 1000 professionals and people with lived experience of exclusion, including vulnerable migrants, people who are homeless, people from gypsy and traveler communities and people who sell sex.

Homeless Healthcare First Steps for Accident & Emergency Units

Pathway and the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health (FHIH) have been working with the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) and the Royal College of Physicians  to publish exciting new research into the experience of homeless patients in Accident and Emergency Units.

23 Accident and Emergency Departments audited all homeless patients using their services for 2 weeks, investigating the care they received, and onward referrals that were made.

This us the first time that a national multi-centre clinical audit of ED care for homeless people has been carried out in the UK.

Secretary to the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health, Dr Nigel Hewett, said:

“RCEM is working with the Faculty to encourage more ED’s to improve their care of homeless people.  An effective response to this complexity requires multi-agency coordination and links to appropriate services and support.”

Download the press release

Download the full reports from the RCEM website