It is important that every patient is discharged to an appropriate home with appropriate support in place. We believe that admission to hospital should be seen as a window of opportunity to link homeless people into accommodation and services. No-one should be discharged from a hospital to the streets.
It is vital that housing authorities, hospital trusts and Primary Care Trusts are aware of the strong link between preventing homelessness and a planned hospital discharge.
There are a number of reports and resources for agencies involved at different stages of a homeless person's admission and discharge from hospital.
The protocol still stands as a template for housing authorities and hospital trusts to use to develop their own local protocol. In addition supporting factsheets have been produced to provide more information and guidance on a number of areas. These have been added to and updated in September 2010
To build on this work, in 2009, Homeless Link helped to produce a set of case studies which explore ways in which housing authorities and hospital trusts are addressing the issue of discharge of homeless people. We hope the learning from these will encourage areas that do not have effective policies and practice in place to address this issue.
A project in the Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital Trust based in Accident and Emergency working with homeless people has won the Nursing times award 2010. The project involves four trust leads for adult and child safeguarding, homelessness, and substance misuse having jointly to set up a dedicated 24-hour a day, 365 days a year service for this client group. You can read more about it in the Nursing Times Award best practice report.
For more information please contact Helen Mathie.