For the last 7 years we have had a member of our outreach team based at the Royal Liverpool Hospital but last September, Liverpool, along with 17 other areas, was funded by the Department of Health & Social Care for a one year pilot to provide Hospital Inreach across the city. The new team includes a GP, nurse practitioners, a care provider and homelessness support workers. We work across 7 hospital sites across the city and aim to work with clients who would otherwise be homeless when they are discharged from hospital. We advocate on behalf of our clients, ensuring appropriate accommodation and support is in place before they leave hospital.
Some clients are already known to us and are living in hostels or on the street. However others may have been accommodated but unable to return to their home because it is no longer suitable or accessible. Once we receive a referral the team will work with case work managers, ward managers, social workers, Housing Options, safeguarding and any other professionals involved to agree the plan for discharge accommodation and the support that maybe required. Our staff will provide up to six weeks support once the client has been discharged to ensure what is in place is fit for purpose and all elements of their care is co-ordinated. We will also supply clients with practical items such as clothing, toiletries and mobile phones so appointments can be booked and family can call.
The service is not only providing care and support to the clients, but is also benefiting the hospitls. Patients who are homeless in hospital are more than twice as likely to be readmitted to hospital in an emergency, compared to patients with housing. The project is reducing returns to hospital, reducing the average length of stay and delays in discharge. All partners in the pilot scheme work closely together, with a weekly case review meeting and a daily handover. In the first 4 months of the service we have provided support to 119 people. One of these, was Harry:
After only 4 or 5 weeks they had secured me a lovely 1 bed flat. They also allocated me a support worker to help me move and settle in as I still struggle with my injuries and also a welfare officer to ensure I claim the right benefits.
I honestly don't know how I would have got through this without their help and would like to thank everyone at the centre for their support. They do amazing work and always with a smile on their faces. Particular thanks to Stephen, Rob, Dave, Michelle, Maureen, Russell and John as they have been looking after me personally but the whole team have my eternal gratitude.
Part of their vision is to help people find a route out of homelessness, maintain a home and achieve their individual potential. They have, without a doubt, helped me with the first 2 objectives and I know they will continue to support me and help me achieve my potential once I am fit again. I plan to offer my time to the centre either as a volunteer or as a staff member as soon as I am able.
Thanks again guys. You really are all superstars.
Our partners in the Hospital Inreach Service are Brownlow Group Practice, YMCA, We Are With You, Care and Connections, Merseycare HOTS team and the NHS.
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