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Lack of community support detrimental to the homeless

Primary care services need to be improved to remove the risks associated with the discharge of homeless people claims The Queen's Nursing Institute (QNI).

The QNI's has released a report, What community nurses say about hospital discharge, based on the results a survey of 184 community nurses and healthcare professions.

Problems identified in the current discharge system include poor communication between services, lack of suitable shelter and poor management of long-term health conditions.

The QNI's Homeless Health Network members, a group of were also asked to identify ways in which services could be improved for the benefit of homeless patients. These included better communication, better planning and service pathways, improved staff training, and an increase in suitable discharge accommodation.

The QNI's Chief Executive, Dr Crystal Oldman said: “People leaving hospital with good family support, good housing, and access to a GP will be better placed to negotiate these transitions than people who have inadequate or no housing, little or no family support, and are not registered with a GP.

“Hospitals frequently admit homeless people who are not registered with a GP and who have no other recourse to health services in times of crisis. It is not a sustainable solution to discharge them back into the community without adequate planning for their health and welfare there.