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Are you interested in homeless hospital discharge?

 Samantha Dorney-Smith 29 Aug 2018

The annual cost of unscheduled care for homeless patients is eight times that of the housed population, and homeless patients are over-represented among frequent attenders in A&E. 

Pathway charity nurses

Despite this expenditure, patients have a reduced quality of life caused by multi-morbidity and experience shockingly worse health than the housed population. The Pathway charity works to improve hospital discharge for people experiencing homelessness in order to stop the revolving door and improve health outcomes.

Homeless hospital discharge is a relatively new area of specialist clinical practice, where clinicians try to ensure that discharges are safe and effective, foster recovery and break the cycle, as well as working to maximise the benefit of the admission. Homeless hospital discharge teams are known to improve housing and health outcomes for a very vulnerable selection of the population.

As Nursing Fellow for the charity, I am currently facilitating a project to bring together nurses from around the UK who are working in this clinical area to define a competency framework for the specialty and build a clinical network. The first workshop was held in June 2018 where 17 nurses from around the country met for the first time. Over 20 nurses are set to attend the next workshop in October. Pathway ‘Experts by Experience’, people with a past or current history of homelessness, are involved in the delivery of the workshops. 

Nurses working in this area are generally senior and have clinical expertise in physical health, mental health and addictions, as well as a good understanding of housing and immigration law. They also have a strong ability to engage with a wide variety of people, including those with challenging behaviour and communication difficulties, and an excellent ability to prioritise. 

Does this project and area of work sound of interest to you? You might be a nurse working a specialist homeless hospital discharge team, a nurse with a special interest in homelessness working in a mainstream discharge team, A&E, or a general medical ward, or a specialist community nurse that in-reaches into hospital. Alternatively you might just be interested in the project or specialty and want to know more. If so please get in contact with me: samantha.dorney-smith@nhs.net


Samantha Dorney-Smith, RCN Public Health Forum member

Samantha Dorney-Smith

Public Health Forum member

A Specialist Practitioner (Practice Nursing) and Nurse Prescriber, Sam has over 15 years’ experience working in inclusion health as a clinical practitioner and service manager.

Sam now works for the Pathway charity undertaking service development, service evaluation and research, and among other things is currently in receipt of a Burdett Trust for Nursing grant to support nurses working in homeless hospital discharge around the country.

Sam is also currently the secretary of the London Network of Nurses and Midwives Homelessness Group.

Page last updated - 05/09/2018