New resource will help homeless people access vital end of life care

Categories: Care.

Researchers have today launched an online toolkit to help hostel staff feel confident to support homeless people get access to the care they need at the end of life.

The toolkit has been created by a partnership between Pathway and the Marie Curie Palliative Care Research department (UCL) in collaboration with St Mungo’s and Coordinate My Care.

A previous report by the same group revealed that hostel staff often end up caring for homeless people with terminal conditions despite not having palliative care training. This places huge burdens on staff who do their best to manage with minimal support and very limited resources.

In response to these findings, the research team developed a two-day training course for hostel staff, recently published in Nurse Education Today. The course was tested with frontline staff from two London homeless hostels, who reported that it helped improve their confidence and knowledge.

The researchers created the online toolkit to ensure that staff can access high quality information and advice at any time. It has guides, tools, activities and a wealth of other carefully structured information to help care professionals plan and provide person-centred care for homeless people.

The team’s work has also shown that one-off training sessions are not enough to fully support hostel staff, so the next stage of the project will explore new models of training.

Dr Briony Hudson, Marie Curie Palliative Care Research Department at UCL, said:

“The deaths of homeless people are often perceived as sudden, untimely and undignified. This can be very traumatic for everyone involved, especially hostel staff, as they are often left to support people who are very unwell, even when they have high care needs, due to a lack of suitable alternative places to live.”

“One of the reasons homeless people are dying without support is that they are not recognised as having a terminal illness. Throughout this toolkit we suggest that concern about a client’s deteriorating health should act as a trigger for action, rather than waiting for a palliative or terminal diagnosis. We hope this resource will be helpful in supporting homeless people.”

Professor Bee Wee, Consultant in palliative medicine at Oxford University, commented:

“I am absolutely delighted to welcome this online resource, which supports staff working to support people who are homeless who are entering the last stages of their lives. It is a truly valuable contribution to our collective efforts to improve palliative and end of life care for all.”

To download the toolkit visit Homeless Palliative Care Toolkit