A multi-disciplined team offers a wide range of services to the homeless in their community.
Homeless people have been treated for diabetes, lung disease, pregnancy, infected wounds and skin conditions at “life-changing” drop-in clinics set up by Complex Care Nurse Claire Knight.
The project, run in partnership with Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT) and held at Maidstone Day Center brings a multi-disciplined team together to offer a wide range of services for the homeless in their community.
With 726 homeless people dying last year, that’s on average 2 per day, being able to offer treatment and support in the community is one way of lowering this number.
Initially due to run until the end of November the project has now seen its services extended till next March. The success has seen other local authorities across West Kent discussing running similar services.
Spearheaded by Complex Care Nurse Claire Knight and Head of Adult and Community Services Stephanie Rhodes, they’ve worked closely with other organisations to bring several services all under one roof.
A multidisciplinary approach.
These included midwives, a heart failure nurse, and a Macmillan cancer support nurse – with one person needing end of life care.
As part of the service, Claire also advised patients on reducing the chances of becoming ill, healthy lifestyles and self-care – as well as where to go for support with mental health issues and for financial information.
They even managed to get one man a bike, after he said he felt isolated and unable to get around due to a lack of money. The bike was donated along with clothes, sleeping bags, tents, food, and a mobile phone, to make it easier for another patient to contact his GP.
Steph said: “Rough sleepers were falling through the healthcare net and this project aims to find them and give them accessible and non-judgemental healthcare.
“The programme has seen us make a real difference to the lives of rough sleepers. Getting the bike for one homeless man was life-changing for him. There is so much more to do and scope for providing care for this vulnerable group of people.”
The work with the homeless and partner organisations was carried out as a quality improvement (QI) project within the trust.