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Help the Homeless – Outstanding Care
The healthcare of vulnerable people is one of the CQC’s areas of concerns. A survey by Homeless Link survey showed 90% of homeless people are registered with a GP, but most felt they didn’t get the help they needed from their doctor. As a result, the homeless are five times more likely than others to attend A&E.
Earlier this year the CQC found the quality of care provided by Inclusion Healthcare Social Enterprise CIC in Leicester to be Outstanding, following their inspection carried out in November 2014. The report highlighted a number of areas of outstanding practice, including:
- The practice was responsive to the differing and challenging needs of its patient population who were treated with compassion, dignity and respect.
- Staff gave examples of how they responded to patients experiencing a mental health crisis, including supporting them to access emergency care and treatment and monitoring repeat prescriptions for people receiving medication for mental health needs.
- The practice contributed to funeral costs and memorials for patients who were homeless.
- They created a memory wall at a day centre for those suffering from alcoholism.
- The service’s healthcare assistant reminded patients of when they had hospital appointments and even offered to accompany them if they wished.
- The practice employed a primary care plus (PCP) nurse who work within the community to provide additional support when homeless patients are in hospital. They also ensure that each patient’s discharge from hospital runs smoothly and help to reduce inappropriate hospital admissions.
Go Above and Beyond
Whilst few GP Practices may be able to offer this level of service there is something to be gained from working with other organisations to meet this standard. It’s clear that staff went above and beyond their level of duty to ensure patients felt comfortable and cared for. All Practices should display an understanding of the differing needs of their patients and act on these needs in the planning and delivery of services. Practices that do well in their inspection reports usually have a patient centred culture and strong evidence that staff are motivated to offer kind and compassionate care.
Commitment and Vision
Janet Williamson, Deputy Chief Inspector of General Practice and Dentistry in CQC’s Central region said: “The practice demonstrated a commitment to supporting patients, enabling them to live healthier lives and help overcome addictions and mental health problems so they could integrate back into the community. The practice had a clear vision which had quality and safety as its top priority.” Professor Steve Field, Chief Inspector of General Practice said: “I am delighted to highlight the exceptional standard of care which is being provided. The service has a clear vision to improve the health of vulnerable and excluded groups – such as homeless people, refugees or those with learning disabilities.”
Practices can ensure that the homeless have access to the information they need by displaying relevant posters and information on noticeboards, provide easy access to clinics and guiding them to other local services and patient groups. Specific patient groups and individual patient needs should be discussed at regular Practice multi-disciplinary meetings (MDT), and don’t forget to minute them as evidence.