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Image: St Vincent's Hospital.

Caring for the homeless: video


Managing your own health while navigating the health system can be hard enough for most of us, but imagine having to do it with the added burden of being homeless.

That’s the scenario facing clients of Erin Longbottom, nurse unit manager of the Homeless Health Service at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital.

Longbottom and her team check in with homeless people who have been identified as potentially needing health care. The aim is to partner with other agencies (like housing or youth services) to provide a “one stop shop” for people who are often preoccupied with simply surviving on the street.

“People experiencing homelessness have a range of needs and priorities and don’t have time to access a range of services,” she says.

Collaboration is a critical part of the role. “We could never do our job alone,” she says, with the various agencies working together to achieve the goal of helping people out of homelessness.

Longbottom joined Nursing Review to discuss what’s it’s like to provide care to some of the more vulnerable members of society.

“Our clients are amazing,” she says. “Every day is new, and every situation is different.”

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