“Health for all will not be achieved if the current estimated 100 million people experiencing homelessness continue to be underserved. Actions by support workers, health workers, health administrators and health policy makers, legislators, and regulators is needed to improve access to self-care interventions among people experiencing homelessness.20
People experiencing homelessness must be engaged as part of the solution to improve access to quality health services and the uptake of self-care interventions. Support organisations working with people experiencing homelessness should involve people who have been homeless as peer educators to provide one-to-one support, reliable information on self-care interventions, and facilitate access to quality health services. For instance, the use of peer support has been shown to reduce drug and alcohol use and increase healthy behaviours. Additionally, support organisations, in partnership with health workers, need to engage directly with people experiencing homelessness, such as through group dialogues and individual support sessions to rebuild their trust, dignity, and self-esteem—both to overcome previous negative experiences of accessing healthcare and to prioritise self-care.
Health workers have a specific role in supporting people experiencing homelessness and their ability to self-care. Increasing the skills and competencies of health workers to provide non-stigmatising, trauma informed care for people experiencing homelessness is essential. A good model is the health worker training developed by Pathway, a UK charity that enhances care coordination for people experiencing homelessness admitted to hospital.”
More on Access to self-care interventions can improve health outcomes for people experiencing homelessness via BMJ.
More on a good model: Pathway. Healthcare for homeless people—what we do. 2019. https://www.pathway.org.uk/about-us/what-we-do/