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Royal Perth Hospital
In mid 2016, Homeless Healthcare established its first in-reach program in collaboration with Royal Perth Hospital. The inreach program is modelled on the internationally renowned and evidence based Pathway program that operates in 11 hospitals in the UK. The aim of RPH HT is to improve outcomes for homeless patients by providing support, improved discharge planning and continuity of care. GPs and nurses from Homeless Healthcare work alongside RPH Homeless Team staff.
The second UWA evaluation report on the work of the RPH Homeless Team was released this week and documents the work and impact of the team since it commenced in June 2016. In its first two and a half years of service delivery, the Team provided support to 1,014 patients, many with multiple complex health issues exacerbated by surviving on the streets.
Comparing patient hospital use before and after contact with the RPH Homeless Team, fewer people were presenting to ED and there were significant reductions in inpatient admissions at EMHS Hospitals, equating to a cost saving of around $4,600,000. The addition of a full-time caseworker (albeit temporarily funded only) to the team has strengthened its capacity to connect patients to accommodation and other community supports, reducing the likelihood of re-admission. As reflected in this report, there has been growing recognition of the RPH Homeless Team nationally and internationally over the last year, and a number of interstate organisations have recently visited Perth to see the work of the Team in action, with a view to adapting the Homeless Healthcare model for their own jurisdiction.