The Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) has published two reports on emergency care for homeless people. They have found that, whilst care for the homeless in A&E is good overall, there are many ways in which care could be improved.
Specifically the reports identify that care could be improved by providing more written information during an A&E visit, and signposting homeless people for help and support in the community.
Crisis CEO, Jon Sparks said:
Homelessness can have a devastating impact on people’s health. The average age of death for a homeless person in this country is just 47, compared to 77 in the general population.
Despite this we know from our services that they often struggle to access the support they need when they go to A&E.
That is why this study is so important: more needs to be done to improve the health of homeless people and ensure they can access the help they need. Otherwise we fear homeless people will continue to die much younger than the general population.
The reports by RCEM focus on the needs of homeless people, including rough sleepers and members of the street community. They are based on the results of an audit that looked at how A&Es are organised and how homeless patients are cared for. Data were collected over two weeks in the run up to Christmas; 23 November – 6 December 2015.
The reports can be accessed on the Royal College of Emergency Medicine website here.