The Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) has today published the report Nursing Care for People Experiencing Homelessness.

The report gives insight based on the views of 206 homeless health nurses working across the UK.

The report was launched by QNI’s Homeless Health Programme Manager, David Parker-Radford, at the University of Salford on 30 November.

Nursing Care for People Experiencing Homelessness gives a thematic analysis of comments from a survey of homeless health nurses (HHNs) about issues facing their area of practice. Using this evidence, it explores the structural, contextual, environmental and practical changes needed to reduce, prevent and eliminate homelessness, and tackle the associated burden of disease.

Key findings

Homeless health nurses were asked for their comments about what single change was most needed to improve health for people who are homeless from their perspective. Their comments broadly fit four categories:

  • Improving the capacity and capability of housing, health and support services
  • Improving the quality of service provision and integrating care
  • Improving the access patients get to health services by removing the barriers
  • Increasing knowledge across the community about homelessness.

The QNI believes this report showcases the vital work done by homeless health nurses and the skilled nature of their role, including:

  • Flexibility
  • Adaptability
  • Patient-centredness
  • Advanced clinical skills
  • Co-ordination of health, housing and community-based support services.

‘The QNI has been facilitating a network of nurses working in homeless health services for the last 10 years. Nurses working in these challenging and rewarding roles have extensive knowledge of the health needs of people without a home, delivering healthcare directly in a wide range of environments, often through nurse-led services.

‘Nurses working with people experiencing homelessness are improving the health, relieving pain and distress and saving the lives every day. This QNI report based on data from members of our Homeless Health Network showcases their work and provides a range of actions required at a system, service and individual level in order to continue to improve the health of the most vulnerable members of our society.’

Dr Crystal Oldman CBE

‘Homeless health nurses work tirelessly every day to build trusting, caring and empowering relationships with people who have become homeless, to help them rebuild their health. These nurses are well aware of local and national trends and the impact of government policies on people who are the hardest hit. These nurses have excellent insight, and give very specific and implementable suggestions for improving their patients’ health.

He added: ‘We need more of these specialist nurses and the QNI hope this report stimulates organisations in local areas to ‘think nursing’ and link with nursing. We want to see people coming together to take action to improve health provision for people who are homeless and at risk of homelessness, as part of a wider strategy to prevent, reduce and eliminate homelessness.’

David Parker-Radford

‘Health problems can be both a cause and consequence of homelessness, in particular rough sleeping. The average age of death for a homeless man is 47, and for a homeless woman just 43, which is a shocking 30 years younger than the average person. Improving access to health care for homeless people is desperately needed and this report provides valuable insight into how we could start to make this happen.’

Jacqui McCluskey, Director of Policy and Communications at Homeless Link

Notes to Editors

Download the report at: https://www.qni.org.uk/resources/nursing-care-for-people-experiencing-homelessness/

More information about the event at the University of Salford on 30 November is available here: https://www.qni.org.uk/news-and-events/events/person-centred-care-event/

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