Riverside’s homeless care lifeline wins national housing award
Published by Susan Littlemore for Riverside in Health and also in Care and Support, Housing
Riverside client, Roy with Kirstie, a Care Assistant at Newton House.
Riverside’s specialist provider of support for homeless people, Riverside-ECHG, has scooped the country’s leading specialist housing award at this year’s UK Housing Awards.
The UK Housing Awards which recognise excellence across the housing sector have chosen Riverside as their Specialist Landlord of the Year for 2014 for the specialist care it provides to homeless people with severe and life-limiting health issues.
Based out of its housing and support centre, Newton House in Gloucester, Riverside’s achievements have included reducing hospital admissions among homeless people by ensuring their clients receive appropriate and targeted support.
“One rough sleeper who came to us had been to A&E thirty-four times over the last year due to his health issues,” said Victoria King-Lowe, Riverside’s Area Manager. “Each time he was discharged back onto the streets because the health services simply couldn’t manage his chronic homelessness issues. Until he came to us he didn’t fit in anywhere and his health issues are now being managed.”
The Department of Health has estimated the cost of one A&E attendance to cost the NHS £108.
During 2013, Riverside expanded out the unique and specialist approach, now providing help to people in their own homes via a Homeless Domiciliary Care Service Lifeline.
Victoria King-Lowe continued “We know that it is not always easy for homeless people to access specialist health and end-of-life care. We ensure our clients are treated with respect as we gain an understanding of the help they need.”
Riverside’s homeless domiciliary care service is a lifeline between housing, health and care. It offers targeted heath support for homeless people who have suffered from severe health crises arising from being homeless. This includes physical trauma, end-of-life issues and problems linked to homelessness that may be exacerbated by addiction.
Over the last year, Riverside’s centre has provided 20 adapted rooms set within a specialist care setting. The team has helped support 98 homeless people over this period, including 52 clients with severe addiction problems and 35 with severe physical issues.
Riverside works with many homeless people who are at risk of becoming homeless again due to health problems. The care team work to help prevent this by creating tailored care plans for each client. The centre benefits from on-site support from a visiting district nurse and supports its clients by arranging hospital appointments liaising with external agencies who can offer advice relating to mental health and substance misuse.
Victoria continued to express her delight at Riverside’s win: “All of our care team and specialist workers strive incredibly hard to ensure that our clients receive the highest level of support to access vital healthcare services. It is testimony to their dedication that we have won such a prestigious award.”
The winners at the UK Housing Awards were announced on 29 April 2014 at a national awards ceremony in London hosted by Presenter and TV personality Marcus Brigstock.