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  • Supporting better outcomes for people experiencing homelessness

    Created: 26/05/2021

    Where we live and call home matters hugely to our health and wellbeing. People who need care and support also require the right type of house, in the right location, at the right time.

    Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) recently provided evaluation support to a project which helps patients attending hospital who are experiencing, or are at risk of homelessness. Led by NHS Fife and Shelter Scotland, a national charity that supports people experiencing bad housing or homelessness, the project was dedicated to delivering housing support services for patients admitted to the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.

    HIS carried out an economic evaluation and qualitative analysis of the project, including gathering the views of patients who had been supported by the intervention team. The key learning from the evaluation can help to inform the design of future intervention models like this one.

    Benefits of coordinating health and housing services:

    When housing support and clinical healthcare staff work together, they’re able to identify the wider housing and support needs of patients which can help resolve accommodation issues. HIS's health economics analysis identified these benefits:

    • The joined-up approach of housing and health reduced the likelihood of people being admitted to hospital or admitted for a long stay.
    • The intervention project provided an average cost saving of £2,422 per person in acute resource.
    • Supporting patients to have their housing needs addressed while they accessed health services reduced the number of people being discharged with no fixed address or into street homelessness.
    • Co-ordinating health and housing expertise within a hospital setting can support patients to have their health and wider support needs met.
    • Connecting health and housing can lead to improved outcomes for patients, better use of healthcare resources and increased awareness of the wider issues faced by people experiencing homelessness.

    If you’d like to know more about how to implement similar intervention models that support better outcomes for patients experiencing homelessness, you can:

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