Helping our Homeless Patients this Christmas
St James’s Hospital serves the south Dublin inner city, where at least half of Dublin’s homeless people are based. Our homeless in Dublin depend on our health and social services. They often suffer from chronic diseases including asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, HIV and hepatitis at a much higher rate than people who have a home.
Homeless people tend to have far more admissions to hospital than other members of the community. Often they have to return regularly to the hospital, and will typically come into St James’s through the Emergency Department.
But many of our homeless patients have so little when they arrive at hospital, especially if they need to go on to a ward. For many homeless people, who may be living on the streets or in hostels, they won’t have the basic items for staying in hospital, like a pair of clean pyjamas and toiletries.
St James’s Hospital is committed to ensuring all our patients are comfortable in our wards and can get the items they need. Sometimes our homeless patients walk out of the wards and leave the hospital, as they may feel stigmatised and embarrassed by not having the appropriate clothes. This is where our health inclusion team, drawn from our social work and clinical teams, step in and identify those in need and try to provide basic items for a hospital stay.
This Christmas, we are asking you to help our health inclusion team, to help our homeless and vulnerable patients. We need the funding to purchase the basic items of new pyjamas, underwear, deodorants and personal hygiene products, to make sure that we have sufficient items for our patients in 2018. We want to help our patients to complete their treatments and get well. One final statistic.
A homeless woman in Dublin can expect to live until she is 38, and a homeless man until he is 42.
Dr Cliona Ni Cheallaigh and Nurse Ann Marie Lawlee
A quote from a patient….
“D (homeless since his teens) was delighted with the clean clothes – he said “will you look at me!” and walked out ten feet taller”