Background Complex and chronic comorbidities, as well as higher rates of mortality amongst the younger population are often experienced more within the homeless community. Due to a combination of complex factors, homeless people often have limited access to health care including palliative care. Providing support that fits the needs of the homeless is a challenge for both healthcare and homeless support providers.
Objectives Developments were initially made between two local charities (one being a homelessness organisation and the other a hospice) to scope delivering end of life care education to homelessness sectors as a collaborative approach. As an increasing part of their work is in supporting the delivery of palliative care with their homeless clients, further correspondence was made with the Advance Care Planning Team & the Community Specialist Palliative Care Team to facilitate a training programme for local homelessness sectors.
Results This collaborative approach to education formed a bespoke tailored programme, supporting those delivering palliative care in the homelessness and hostel communities. Feedback has been excellent with most participants agreeing that they can utilise skills in their practice to improve user experience. This project has been recognised by local commissioners as an excellent resource and example of great collaboration between organisations. Since November 2022 there have been 3 cohorts of education sessions, with each cohort being 3 and a half days long and attended by 108 people. All respondents except one (with no reason why declared) said that they would ‘recommend the sessions to colleagues.’
Sustainability The sessions offer a rolling programme that can be used across all sectors of the homelessness community. Creating key champions, the focus is on supportive tools and strategies for those delivering palliative care in the homelessness communities, potentially improving user experience, preventing hospital admissions for some, and enhancing end of life care.