Summary

This project took place in Birmingham.

30-50% of homeless people have mental health problems, 45% have physical health problems and 60% substance misuse issues, yet, homeless people are 40 times more likely not to be registered with a GP. The use of ‘health champions’ has proven to have a significant impact on fellow users’ attitudes and knowledge about health, accepting of lifestyle advice and access to medical care, especially in primary care.

The aim of the project was to improve the health of single homeless men and women by providing a peer group support network.

  • A successful peer support programme was delivered to nine service users.
  • Three health champions are in voluntary placements.
  • Three health champions are volunteering weekly with a homeless service to deliver health message and advice to peers.
  • An overall reduction in A&E attendances which led to monthly case review to agree a case management approach for frequent attenders and target individuals for proactive care.
  • Closer working partnerships with other agencies particularly the third sector.
  • One health champion is now running a self-help alcohol support group and is attending college for further health and social care training.
  • One health champion is now in part-time paid employment.

Resource:

Leaflet for health champions about using GP services appropriately.

Planned translation of the leaflets into Polish for use with Polish rough sleepers.

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Information

  • Location
    Birmingham
  • Project date
    Duration - one year
  • Key aim
    To improve the health of single homeless men and women by providing a peer group support network.

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