Improving care for our homeless patients
Tuesday 21 January 2014
A quarter of England’s homeless people live in the boroughs of Westminster, Lambeth and Southwark. Many have serious health problems and struggle to access healthcare, so Guy’s and St Thomas’ have helped set up a team to support these patients when they attend our hospitals.
The Pathway Homeless team ensures homeless patients have somewhere safe to go when they’re discharged and reduces the number who leave hospital against medical advice and have to be re-admitted.
Samantha Dorney-Smith, interim project lead, says: “The Pathway team aims to give homeless people the best possible hospital experience and ensure that when they are discharged, they receive the ongoing support they need. We know that integrated care for homeless patients is better for them and is more cost effective for the NHS.”
The team includes GPs, nurses, an occupational therapist, a psychiatric nurse and housing support workers. They started taking patient referrals at the beginning of January and see people from Guy’s and St Thomas’, King's College Hospital and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trusts.
Hospital staff can refer patients who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, and who may need help with their health, housing or social needs.
St Thomas' A&E nurses were shortlisted in last year’s Nursing Times Awards, in the emergency care category, for a project that halved the number of A&E attendances by homeless patients.
The Pathway Homeless team is part of a national network of Pathway teams. See www.pathway.org.uk for more information.
Last updated: January 2014