Ensuring the homeless population in our city is safe and vaccinated is incredibly important.
But, at St Ann’s, we’ve also been working hard over the last year to provide invaluable services for homeless people which many wouldn’t automatically think of when considering the care that hospices provide.
For most, the word hospice conjures up thoughts of care for people at the very end of their life – with cancer usually – all provided from within a hospice building.
But, while end of life care provided by our specialist teams within our hospice sites is an incredibly important part of what we do, modern hospice care isn’t just about what happens within those walls.
Everyone has the right to receive the care and support they need, and for many homeless people who are in need of support for cancer or other life-limiting illnesses, it can be incredibly difficult to access – especially if their health is getting worse, or they’re nearing the end of their life.
Reaching out and going to where people that need our specialist care are is so important. We always want to provide support in the way that is best tailored to their individual needs and wishes, and we know that a hospice building isn’t always right for everyone.
We believe passionately in ensuring that anyone – whatever community they belong to – can access hospice care, which is why we set up our Homeless Palliative Care Service in Manchester. Working collaboratively with partners across the city who support people experiencing homelessness, our teams provide expertise and care right when it’s needed most.
Our service helps people make informed decisions about their care, advocating for them and supporting them through challenging times. It can help them reconnect with loved ones, and ensure, if needed, the provision of specialist end of life care too.
We also train teams working on the ground with members of the homeless community to equip them with the tools they need to recognise if someone’s health is worsening, and to signpost them to appropriate support and care.
The death of a loved one is distressing for all of us, but can bring additional challenges for people experiencing homelessness. To support them through such difficult times, we offer bereavement support to staff and people experiencing homelessness themselves when there has been a death of someone they know.
As lockdown begins to ease, we’re urging people across the city to not forget members of the homeless community who may need palliative and end of life care.
A diagnosis of an illness which will shorten your life is devastating for anyone, but for homeless people it also brings additional challenges around where care will be provided, how that will be coordinated, and how your personal goals and wishes will be listened to and managed as your illness worsens.
We’ve seen first-hand the impact that the specialist care we provide has on people at that extremely vulnerable time in their life. Thanks to the support from our local community through donations and sharing information about the hospice, we’re able to continue providing services like this to people who need us most.
As a charity, we really appreciate everything you do to help us continue caring, and never take that support for granted. Thank you.