The model is being piloted by the wider Salford Dual Diagnosis Homeless Team (SDDHT) which is part of the Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust. The pilot will see a full time Dual Diagnosis Practitioner working in partnership with a Housing Officer, both will be based on an acute ward full time to develop a holistic approach when discharging patients from hospital, as well as providing the correct after care and provision.

So often, vulnerable people who might not have secure living situations leave inpatient care without the necessary follow up, leading to some people falling off the radar of their local mental health Trust completely.

Creating a pathway that combines the work of a Dual Diagnosis Practitioner with a Housing Officer is an efficient way to ensure this does not happen. Fewer people becoming unhoused after hospitalisation will also likely prevent more people from starting down the path of addiction.

Since the pilot launched in June 2021, SDDHT has reported on five individuals who have directly benefited from the new pathway

Emma Dallyn who works as the Dual Diagnosis Practitioner for Salford Dual Diagnosis Homeless Team said:

“We are aware that for people experiencing homelessness it can be a real struggle to access healthcare, unlike the general population, so health outcomes are often very poor. We are hoping that this pilot will mean fewer repeat admissions to Salford Royal Hospital and generally improved health outcomes for this extremely vulnerable group of individuals.”

She continued, “I started in post at the end of 2021 and in this time, through working closely with the wards at Salford Royal Hospital, we have successfully identified and housed one rough sleeper into out of hospital accommodation in Eccles who is continuing to do well with our support in his new accommodation.”

Emma also spoke about how varied the work she does within her role is: “My role is to help ensure that homeless people coming through Salford Royal Hospital are getting all their care needs met. This includes getting the right support for substance misuse, mental health and social care, as well as their physical health care needs.”

Being without a home or address can make it really hard to access services, so many people who are homeless have mental and physiological needs that are untreated.

A patient who was helped by the pilot said: “After two years of being homeless, sleeping on the streets, I got fobbed off so many times trying to get help, I was ready to give up.”

“The help I have received from Emma and her colleagues has been brilliant. From going into hospital to coming out I have felt so well supported, I can’t thank them enough for all the help they have given me. So many people could benefit from this type of service.”

This new pilot draws on already existing partner relationships that had been set up to create discharge pathways for homeless people in the area. The aim is to build on these already established models to create an even smoother transition into the community, which should also prevent readmissions through A&E.