“Homeless hope” voluntary nurse led outreach in wales UK
Homeless hope nurses are qualified nurses from a varied cross section of our health service. We are all volunteers and use our professional
knowledge and judgement to support our street homeless to take ownership of their health needs. We provide basic footcare and education,
donations of food, clothes, bedding and hygiene items at street level once a month in Cardiff, Swansea and Newport, three cities across wales.
We use our own professional knowledge to break down barriers over time, establishing a workable rapport. The non-judgmental, accepting
nature of volunteers has been beneficial in developing engagement with the percentage of rough sleepers that do not access services. We have
become a trusted voluntary service to our rough sleepers. They know when we are coming and are happy to see us, often excited to tell us
changes that they have put in place. We often encounter individuals with septic needle wounds, traumatic injuries from fighting and cellulitis.
Wounds are cleaned and dressed with non-medicated dressings and referred in to the system via signpost to ensure they are monitored. Foot
health, although a basic intervention which provides education against trench foot and other avoidable conditions, is also a platform to develop
knowledge and understand needs. This personal intervention encourages individuals to think about their personal health needs and issues around
them becoming homeless. Skilled communication, in the form of listening and reacting professionally and sympathetically to prompts, allows
the individual to acknowledge issues which need addressing. This can also provoke emotions which are also dealt with professionally due to
the nurses working background. Due to the nature of our work and voluntary capacity, we join up with services within the cities to highlight
any concerns or issues that require further input or monitoring. We also handout details of services available and encourage engagement.