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Guidance for nurses working with homeless people

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The Queen’s Nursing Institute has launched new guidance for community nurses to help them assess the health of homeless people.

The resource features a template health assessment – including general physical health, presence of long-term conditions, substance use, mental health, sexual health and housing.

It also incorporates template care plans for use by nurses and patients, said the QNI, which launched the guidance to mark World Homeless Day.

The guidance was drawn up with input from people with experience of homelessness and created by community nurses specialising in homeless health.

“Vast inequality exists between homeless people and the rest of the population in terms of their health”

David Parker-Radford

Funded by the Monument Trust, it highlights that homeless people need a holistic approach that recognises their own skills and assets, and effectively co-ordinates their care.

It is also designed to promote standards of care set by existing national guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and Public Health England.

David Parker-Radford, the QNI’s homeless health project manager, said: “Vast inequality exists between homeless people and the rest of the population in terms of their health.

“Health professionals are well placed to support people in closing this gap but to do so they need access to all the relevant information,” he said.

According to a recent QNI survey, only 85% of homeless people have their housing status recorded by NHS medical records and therefore lack access to all the support available to them.

Mr Parker-Radford said he hoped the QNI’s new resource would become a “key tool for improving practice in the years ahead”.

The new guidance will also be presented to delegates next week at the QNI’s homeless health conference in Cardiff.

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