People who are homeless or vulnerably housed are at higher risk of many health problems and on average die 30 years younger than the general population. The deaths of homeless people are often perceived as sudden, untimely and undignified and can be very traumatic for all involved.

Hostel and day centre staff are often left to support people who are very unwell, even when they have high care needs, due to a lack of suitable alternative places to live.

This toolkit aims to support staff working with homeless people who have advanced ill health.

How to use this toolkit

We have adapted a resource pack previously developed by St Mungo’s and Marie Curie, using findings from a large piece of collaborative research. Each section contains resources, tools and activity worksheets to help in planning and providing person centered, multiagency care for homeless people. The resources can be found throughout the toolkit and also in the resources section.

We found that one of the reasons people are dying without support is that they are not recognized to be suffering from a terminal illness. Throughout this toolkit we suggest that ‘concern about a client’s deteriorating health’ should act as a trigger for action, rather than waiting for a palliative or terminal diagnosis.

We hope this toolkit will be useful in supporting your clients, yourselves and each other.