Working with the homeless

Catharine Sadler hears how providing nursing care to street sleepers can be a challenging but highly rewarding role

Catharine Sadler hears how providing nursing care to street sleepers can be a challenging but highly rewarding role.

Abstract

According to CHAIN, the Combined Homelessness and Information Network, there are almost 3,000 homeless people sleeping on the streets of London alone – up 55% since 2010.

Jane Cook, newly-appointed integration lead for homelessness across Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College and the South London and Maudsley NHS foundation trusts, has cared for street sleepers for 30 years.

As a Queen’s nurse she co-founded the homeless nursing project at the Queen’s Nursing Institute (QNI) and has produced national guidelines on safeguarding homeless families.

She recently helped develop dedicated beds at hostels in four London boroughs for homeless people who have been discharged from hospital. The nurse consultant also set up StreetMed, a nursing outreach service, with St Mungo’s Broadway homeless charity in 2012 (see box, below), and now trains StreetMed nurses two days a week.

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This article was first published in print in Nursing Standard: volume 30, issue 21

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