Saint Francis Hospice has set up a new project to make sure that people experiencing homelessness in the local community can access end of life care.

The 18-month project aims to break down the barriers to healthcare that people experiencing homelessness often face. It will focus on building relationships with agencies working with homeless people in the east London boroughs of Havering, Barking and Dagenham, and Redbridge, to make it easier for them to be referred to the hospice.

Ann Dalgliesh, a Senior Nurse at the hospice, is leading the project. An important part of her role involves education, and she will be working with local hostels, healthcare organisations, as well as the family and friends of homeless people to provide them with a better understanding of why end of life care is important and how the hospice can make a difference to their lives.

Support for those who need it

“As well as suffering from poorer physical and mental health and being at risk of long-term health problems, health services are also difficult to access without a fixed address” she explained.

“Having worked as a nurse in the community for many years, I have come across many people living in this situation.  I will be providing onsite support for staff at local hostels and family members. I will also be reaching out to people who may be rough sleeping at a family or friend’s house and engaging them so they can access the healthcare services they need more easily.”

The project has been funded by the Masonic Charitable Foundation in partnership with Hospice UK. It continues the hospice’s work to improve equality and diversity in hospice care, which has included developing a training module to help health and social care professionals provide LGBTQ-inclusive care.