Homeless people with diabetes are focus of new national project

By Editor
13th October 2023
Good practice, Type 2 diabetes

A national project designed to improve care for homeless people living with diabetes has got underway with the launch of its first workshop.

The Improving Care for People Experiencing Homelessness with Diabetes programme is bringing together specialist diabetes nurses, practice nurses and district nurses with a special interest in diabetes with homeless and inclusion health nurses so they can learn how to better support homeless patients who live with type 2 diabetes.

It is led by Pathway, the UK’s leading homeless healthcare charity helping the NHS to create hospital teams to support homeless patients, and its first workshop focussed on the specific challenges associated with homeless people with type 2 diabetes.

Pathway Nurse Lead, Samantha Dorney-Smith, said: “This project is vitally important. Recent research has revealed more than 40 per cent of homeless people with diabetes have blood sugar levels above the healthy range and most report difficulties with managing the disease.

“People with diabetes who are homeless are at much higher risk of death and serious complications such as amputations and they face numerous challenges including getting access to healthy food.

“Through this project we want to gain a deeper understanding of the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in people experiencing homelessness, the challenges of meeting their needs and the successful approaches we can take towards their care.

“We want to empower nurses, hostel workers and others to better support people who are experiencing homelessness and living with type 2 diabetes to manage their condition.

“We had more than 50 attendees at our first online workshop and some amazing examples of good practice were shared.

“We have more events in the pipeline and we’d urge nurses to attend them.”

Topics covered in the first online workshop included lack of access to care, difficulties with concordance monitoring and treatment, exposure to infection risks, inadequate footwear, difficulties with dental hygiene, mental health issues and concurrent smoking and addictions.

Next year, the project will run a Nurses Meeting, a second online workshop focused on Understanding Solutions and a face-to-face workshop to share ideas to promote better practice with a view to seeing if could be introduced into national guidance.

A national survey will also be launched to further understand the challenges involved in caring for homeless people with type 2 diabetes and guidance stemming from the project will be released online.

The project has been funded by the Burdett Trust for Nursing under the Type 2 Diabetes prevention programme to improve care for people experiencing homelessness with diabetes nationally.

For further information about the project, email Samantha Dorney-Smith at samantha.dorney-smith@nhs.net

(Photo credit: Centre for Homelessness Impact)

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