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Homeless Health

A unique partnership between West Lothian Council and NHS Lothian was established in 2000, this was the creation of the Homeless Health Team.

The Homeless Health Team was created, working with Council, Health Colleagues and the voluntary services, the overarching aim of the Homeless Health Team is of improving and maintaining the health and well-being of homeless people.

What the team does

Provide a flexible outreach service to people with concerns about their health, who are homeless in West Lothian.

Who can access this service

The service is available to people in West Lothian with health need

  • Who are homeless
  • Who are at risk of becoming homeless and not engaged with services
  • Who support homeless people

Our main objectives are:

  • To meet health and wellbeing needs of homeless people
  • Provide assessment and implement planned nurse intervention and mental health support to people whilst in temporary accommodation
  • Identify mainstream agencies which are best placed to meet the health needs of those who are homeless
  • To ensure vulnerable people receive a service they are entitled to
  • Improve support and advise on health issues to those working with homeless people
  • Provide health promotion and education on mental health and wellbeing for clients and those supporting them
  • Network and promote our service

Referral Process

The referral process is deliberately simple to encourage people to make contact.  There is an open referral system.

Referrals can be made by anyone - professional, a family member or by the individual.

The way we work:

  • One team leader and two health workers, all registered mental health nurses
  • Every person moving into temporary homeless accommodation is offered an initial contact
  • Provide information and education on mental health issues for clients and support staff
  • Provide practical support to encourage clients to engage with and positively use other agency support
  • Provide support for family members and relevant other
  • Provide psychosocial interventions
  • Work with clients to enhance coping strategies
  • Work with clients to identify stressors and problem solving
  • Health promotion events
  • Link with hospital - hospital discharge protocol for anyone leaving hospital with no permanent accommodation
  • Clients are allocated a key worker, with all members of the team having a working knowledge of all service users to make the most of opportunistic encounters

Service Standards

The Moving into Health team are committed to delivering a service of care, in a flexible manner, tailored to the individual needs of the clients.

We will:

  • Respond to urgent referrals within two working days
  • Respond to routine referrals within five working days
  • Undertake a formal assessment of need and provide/input to a care plan for each client
  • Correspond with GPs to establish links with mainstream service
  • Review clients care needs on each visit
  • Liaise with other support agencies, adhering to agreement with client to provide a comprehensive service
  • Request consent to share relevant information, to enable best service, advising clients of what we will share

Information will not be shared without permission except in certain circumstances such as:

  • If a worker believes a child is at risk of harm, the relevant agency must be informed; or if clients or others were thought to be at risk of serious harm.