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P-50 Working with taboos – the dying and the homeless
  1. Kerry Macnish and
  2. Jo Anthony
  1. Rowcroft Hospice, Torquay, UK


Background An identified unmet need for people who are homeless in Torbay to access end of life care services and hospice provision. Also identifying the end of life training needs of the workforce supporting homeless people across Torbay.

Aim To connect with homeless workforces to enable them to identify those individuals who would benefit from access to end of life care services and support.

Methods To identify the workforce across the private, statutory and voluntary sectors. To identify their learning needs and plan and deliver a programme of education. Participants completed a pre-and-post course evaluation of their knowledge and confidence. We received timely funding from HEE to enable this project.


  • 18 people working with homeless people attended two and half days bespoke end of life care training in 2016

  • Participants recorded increased confidence and knowledge upon completion

  • Greater connexion between hospice and homeless workforce and ongoing working relationships

  • Improved recognition of the deterioration in this patient/client population

  • Increased confidence in leading discussions about future care needs with their clients and professional colleagues

  • Received first referral to Rowcroft Hospice

  • Course participants produced a locally mapped document of agencies supporting the homeless population for distribution

  • Course participants undertook advance care planning discussions within their own families and across their community

  • The local hostel committed to improving mechanisms for both support and supervision for their staff similar to the hospice model.

Conclusion The course became a vehicle for connecting local services involved with the homeless population of Torbay to make a change for the better. Participants felt enabled to recognise deterioration earlier, offer opportunities to discuss with patients/clients their thoughts and views about their future needs and care wishes. The course enabled us to build better joint working relationships, and increased engagement with the hospice services.

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