Some community nurses may be specialists in the field of homeless healthcare, while others will see a varying number of patients who may not have safe and secure accommodation in the course of their work.

This includes homeless families, for example those living in bed and breakfast accommodation, vulnerable migrants and gypsy and traveller communities.

There are a range of unique challenges that nurses working with homeless patients or clients face. Often people without a secure home are not registered with a GP. If they move frequently, they may be less likely to attend scheduled appointments and programmes of treatment for certain infections or long term conditions becomes very difficult.

People without a secure home are also at greater risk of a number of health harms, including unsafe alcohol and drug use, infectious diseases, risk of experiencing violence, and mental health issues. The relationship of cause and effect is often difficult to determine and this is a complex, challenging and very rewarding area of community nursing.

The Queen’s Nursing Institute’s Homeless Health Programme is a national professional network for nurses working in this field. For more information about the network, please click here.

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