Homelessness and palliative care: new film brings voices together to show how we can do better

Categories: Care and Featured.

St Ann’s Hospice have launched a new film to help professionals support people experiencing homelessness at the end of their life. The film brings together voices from the homeless and palliative care sectors to highlight some of the challenges and inequalities people experiencing homelessness face at the end of life, and how it can be improved.

St Ann’s Hospice is one of the oldest and largest hospices in the UK, and is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Staff support patients and those closest to them from their two sites in Heald Green and Little Hulton, as well as via a range of community and outreach services, including its Homeless Palliative Care Service which works across Greater Manchester.

People experiencing homelessness suffer from poor health disproportionately. For people who are in need of support for cancer or other life-limiting illnesses, they experience many barriers to health care – especially if their health is getting worse, or they’re nearing the end of their life.

People affected by homelessness often die 30 years younger than people who are housed. These deaths are often unplanned, with access to palliative care very unusual and care often being crisis-led.

Thanks to funding from the National Lottery Community Fund, a new film, ‘Homeless, young and dying: we can do better’, was commissioned by St Ann’s Hospice in Greater Manchester and produced by StGilesMedical to raise awareness of these issues.

Jude Holt, Head of Practice Development at St Ann’s Hospice, explained:

“At St Ann’s we’re proud of our commitment to improving our reach, as we aim to ensure as many people as possible can access palliative and end of life care – whatever their background, and whatever community they’re from.

“Our homeless palliative care service works collaboratively with partners across the city who support people experiencing homelessness, our teams provide expertise and care right when it’s needed most. We’ve seen first-hand the impact that the specialist care we provide has on people at that extremely vulnerable time in their life, and what can be achieved when we work together with colleagues in the homeless sector.

“The aim of our film is bring together voices from across the hospice and homeless sectors to raise awareness of the barriers to palliative care, and the complexity of need. We want this film to be a useful resource which shares best practice and gives hope that by working together, we can continue to influence change and improve the lives of thousands of people who need specialist care at a vulnerable time in their life.”

Contributors to the film include St Ann’s Hospice, StGilesMedical, Dr Caroline Shulman of Pathway/UCL, Providence Row Housing Association, SHP, Dr Dana Beale of Great Chapel Street Medical Centre, St Mungo’s, Groundswell, Urban Village, GM Housing First, Dr Ruth Eldson of GM Homeless Mental Health Team, Dr Kathryn Mannix and Sir Edward Davey.

*You can watch the film at www.sah.org.uk/HomelessFilm and find more useful resources about palliative care and homelessness on the website.


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