The great city of London and its residents have been as hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic as anywhere in the world. For the bulk of the city’s population, this has meant spending a considerable amount of the year at home, doing their part to help stop the spread. But for some of London’s most vulnerable people, those without homes to go to, things have not been so easy. Happily, we can share the story of incredible nurses and medical professionals who have made it their mission to ensure nobody goes without vital care.
This is London’s Story of Gratitude for its heroic nurses helping the homeless.
On any given night there are up to 170,000 homeless people in the city of London or 1 in every 52 residents. As schools and businesses were forced to shut down, so too were the many services that regularly assist people who are homeless, providing support during the day. With vulnerable people now housed in hostels and those who would otherwise sleep rough provided with temporary accommodation, nurses from across the NHS sprung into action.
“We used to give outreach packs to people we saw before COVID-19, but we’ve adapted these to include hand wipes, soap, a government leaflet on the virus, foil blankets, and a snack bar because people have been struggling to get food. We’ve given our contact details and explained the symptoms of COVID-19 and said if they develop any of those to give us a call,” explains Rosa Ungpakorn an Advanced Nurse Practitioner.
While in hotels across Waterloo, Clapham and Camberwell nurses from the Guy’s and St Thomas’ health inclusion team care for more than 300 people. In addition to the other services, they’ve also taken the opportunity to provide information to vulnerable people on how to manage long-term and chronic conditions, manage medications, dress wounds, and assist one another with their medical needs. People are also registered with a GP so that they can continue to receive health care when the pandemic is over.
For those who are showing symptoms or test positive, University College London Hospitals were quick to develop a solution. As the clinical lead of the Find & Treat service explains, “Together we transformed a hotel into a clinical specified environment in 24 hours, able to provide round the clock clinical support and testing. This facility, the first in the country, takes people from the street, the hostels, the hotels and hospitals across London to prevent outbreaks and give homeless people the best possible chance to survive COVID-19.”
Nurses from across London joined their colleagues in the medical profession in recognising early on in the pandemic the great risk the virus possessed to many vulnerable people. In a profession that never stands on the sidelines they took the initiative and adapted their services to treat the homeless with the dignity and care all human beings deserve. In doing so they have undoubtedly saved lives, delivered vital services, and provided a friendly face to many in their time of need. A countless number of these same nurses have further committed to continuing this selfless work in their own time when the crisis is over, to continue to improve the lives of everyone who calls London home, leaving nobody behind.
This is London’s Story of Gratitude. We were only able to mention a small number of the nurses and their places of work providing these vital services, if anyone knows more please contact us here as the Share Gratitude community would like to thank those involved and look to support this initiative. We encourage you to follow us for more Stories of Gratitude and invite you to share your story – or send a simple message of Gratitude to those behind this initiative, please visit sharegratitude.com