Supporting homeless people in Brighton and Hove
08 February 2019

Working together to support homeless people in Brighton and Hove

Winter is a busy time of year for our Community Homeless Team who are dealing with fast changing and challenging situations on a day-to-day basis.

Despite the challenge of an increasing homeless population, this service is a shining example of inter-agency work.

The service, based in Morley Street Clinic in central Brighton, is a multi-disciplinary team of specialist clinicians, nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapist.

They provide a unique care service to people experiencing homelessness, which goes beyond just treating immediate health concerns.

The team works collaboratively with other local organisations. The list of partners includes:

  • Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust
  • ARCH Healthcare, Adult Social Care
  • Brighton and Hove City Council
  • Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
  • Brighton and Hove City Council
  • YMCA
  • Brighton Housing Trust
  • Justlife
  • St Mungo’s 
  • Fulfilling Lives

Together they assess the holistic needs of a person based on their living situation, lifestyle, physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing.

This level of care requires expert knowledge, compassion and collaboration and the team is doing a fantastic job of drawing on the expertise of multiple organisations across the city and further afield.

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT) is committed to taking care of everyone in our community, particularly those who are most vulnerable.

 

Left to right: Jamie Clark – St Mungos, Gregg Lock - SCFT, Dr Chris Sargeant – Arch CIC, Katie Carter -JustLife, form the Homeless Hospital IN-Reach team based at Royal Sussex County Hospital. Together, they provide support with everything from health to housing and advocacy and engagement work. This helps take the fear out of their journey in hospital and ensures their continuity of care on discharge.


Death on the Frontlines

As temperatures drop, homeless people are particularly at risk, with nearly 600 people dying on UK streets last year - an increase of 24% over the last five years.

The homeless team kicked off 2019 with a workshop called Death on the Frontlines - the first event of its kind in Brighton and Hove.

The team worked alongside Justlife and the Martlets Hospice to set it in place. The forum was for frontline staff to come together and talk about their experiences of people they have supported and cared for dying in sometimes very traumatic circumstances and the impact this has had on them. 

Caterina Speight, Clinical Services Manager for the SCFT Homeless Team said:

“What an amazing event bringing together frontline workers from all over the city. It allowed for open, honest discussions on the impact of having experienced the sometimes sudden and traumatic death of someone they have worked with, often over a period of time.”

In another event held in January, Caterina and Gregg Lock, Hospital In-Reach Nurse for the Homeless Team, were asked to present and contribute to the final workshop for the Burdett Trust’s Homeless Hospital Discharge Nurses Project which took place in the Royal College of Nursing, Cavendish Square.

The event was the finale to a large piece of work undertaken over the past year where various organisations from across the UK examined homeless nursing with particular focus on the Hospital In-Reach Role.

Homeless Hospital in-reach is another example of a multi-agency team working together to provide long term specialised care to homeless patients in the community.

The aim of the project was to enable nurses to better understand best practice in developing specialist skills relating to homelessness nursing. Having expert knowledge in this field allows clinicians to draw upon the various services available to provide the best possible care for people.

Gregg said:

 ‘Projects like this one are essential, bringing together nurses who choose homelessness as their specialism and are able to share good practice to ensure safe and planned discharges of patients experiencing homelessness. This enables affective follow-up care in the community which will ultimately benefit the patients’ health and wellbeing as well as reduce the number of inappropriate admissions to acute care settings’.

The recent events are just two examples of the excellent inter-agency working that is put into daily practise by our Community Homeless Team.

As Brighton’s homeless populations grows, the demand for healthcare is increasing. By collaborating with other organisations, we hope to help provide a better quality of life for everyone.

The SCFT Homeless Team is now on Twitter: @SCT_homeless