Homeless and facing a life limiting illness

Homeless and facing a life limiting illness

05 Oct 2020

Patient Care Stories

We're absolutely delighted to announce that we have been awarded funding from the Masonic Charitable Foundation and Hospice UK to spend 12 months working on improving Hospice access for people in our community who live on the street and in hostels. 

Bristol has one of the highest homeless populations in the UK and the life expectancy for someone who is or has experienced homelessness is shockingly only 45 years old. It's common for people to struggle to engage with mainstream services as a result of often chaotic lifestyles, and alcohol and substance misuse when homeless. With limited social networks around and being isolated from family, the impact on those with end of life care needs is huge, and accessing the right care is just another challenge to add to the list.

To carry out work in this area we will link up and work collaboratively with local homeless health service providers, in particular Bristol's Homeless Health Service (The Compass Centre), University Hospitals Bristol and Weston's Homeless Support Team. We'll also partner with local hostels and street outreach teams, visiting and carrying out education sessions about end of life care to increase their staffs understanding and awareness of the subject. We'll develop end of life resources for them to have on hand, and let them know who they can contact if they need support. Another things we've identified is that currently there is no forum for identifying people who are homeless and though to be at the end of life, this grant will allow us to create one.

Whilst over the years we have provided some end of life care and support for people experiencing homelessness, largely through the work of our Community Nurse Specialist team, it's not been without its challenges. The need is for end of life care that is tailored, sympathetic and specific to the needs of this extremely vulnerable group. This grant is a huge milestone for us in our commitment to serving the diverse needs of our community, and we are so grateful for the opportunity to have a significant and meaningful impact.

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