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Homeless hospital discharge programme to be evaluated

An independent evaluation of the homeless hospital discharge programme is being planned, the Medical Independent can report. The programme, funded by HSE Social Inclusion, Sláintecare and the Service Reform Fund is an interagency service for the delivery of healthcare to people experiencing homelessness. The work incorporates inclusion health services at St James’s Hospital, Dublin, and the Mater Misericordiae Universiy Hospital, Dublin. It includes pilot implementation and evaluation of a Dublin homeless hospital discharge protocol at St James’s and the Mater, with subsequent adaptation and implementation at other sites; the development of a homeless health peer advocate service and integration within broader clinical services across hospital and community services.

The programme, which commenced in 2018, aims to improve access to care and health and social outcomes for homeless and other marginalised patients at St James’s and the Mater through an integrated approach across primary care and mental health services. It also seeks to ensure planned, coordinated and timely discharges from acute hospitals with appropriate onward referral to health and social supports, including access to suitable accommodation and stable housing. Another aim is to reduce hospital utilisation by enhancing alternative community pathways.

The procurement process for the independent evaluation is being undertaken by the board of St James’s.The tenderers must submit a proposal for conducting an evaluation of the programme, specifying the approach and methodology to be employed.The successful tenderer will be expected to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the homeless hospital discharge protocol from the perspective of key stakeholders, as well as monitor and analyse data on key performance indicators and other data sources. They would also submit a final evaluation report and related dissemination materials “to ensure that the learning from [the] homeless hospital discharge programme can inform other systems change initiatives”. The deadline for submissions is 29 September 2021.

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