Since October The Whitechapel Centre has been leading on a 6 month pilot “Hospital Outreach Service”, in partnership with other agencies. The service aims to prevent patients from returning to sleeping rough and to improve communication between hospitals, GPs and accommodation providers.
The team of 3 outreach workers are based at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and Whiston Hospital. In the first 15 weeks the team assessed 108 people and ensured 80% were discharged to appropriate accommodation. There are a number of reasons why we did not secure a housing solution for the remainder – some were transferred to other hospitals for on going treatment and others took their own discharge so did not give us a chance to help them with their housing.
Karen Ryan, who is part of the team at the Royal, explains “As well as practical help finding somewhere for homeless people to go, we also provide support and encouragement during their stay. Often our clients would not get any visitors and, like everyone else, they appreciate a friendly face. This has helped some to stay in and complete their treatment where previously they may have self discharged.
The staff at the Royal are really supportive of our clients and want to help them to make changes to improve their health. Being discharged with somewhere to go to means medical care can be followed up and health is less likely to deteriorate. Staff now know to call us if they have anyone experiencing homelessness.”
The pilot concludes in April but we are looking at how agencies can work together to ensure the positive work continues for homeless patients.