Study on health of homeless patients in Aberdeen secures funding boost

Academics and health professionals who have been investigating the healthcare of homeless patients in Aberdeen have secured £10,000 funding to further their research.

Dr Vibhu PaudyalA team of Robert Gordon University (RGU) researchers and NHS Grampian staff have been awarded the money from the NHS Grampian Public Health Fund to help enable the seamless care of patients from Marywell healthcare centre for the homeless as they transition to mainstream GP practices in Aberdeen.

The collaborative project involves researchers from RGU, Marywell Homeless Healthcare Centre Aberdeen and Aberdeen City Community Health and Social Care Partnership.

Principle Investigator Dr Vibhu Paudyal from RGU's School of Pharmacy and Life Sciences leads the research team which comprises: Professor Derek Stewart, Dr Katie MacLure, Dr Katrina Forbes-McKay, Dr Carol Buchanan, Ms Liz Wilson, Ms Ann Smith and Ms Joan MacLeod.

The project will undertake a formal evaluation of patient pathways and experiences of relocation and integration activities associated with moving from a special purpose homeless medical practice to a mainstream medical practice, and identify barriers and facilitators.

Where patients have been rehomed or moved to a permanent address, it is expected that they are relocated to a mainstream general medical practice and community pharmacy in their area.

Such relocation activity is expected to add to the convenience of the patients and also allows Marywell Healthcare Centre to focus on providing services to the patients who are still facing homelessness.

Relocating and integrating formerly homeless patients to mainstream primary healthcare services in their new localities can also provide opportunities for healthcare professionals to offer seamless care of patients.

Dr Paudyal said: “We are delighted to have received new research funding from the NHS Grampian Public Health Fund and believe that there is clear potential to reduce health and social inequalities in Aberdeen.

“Patients who have moved on from their homeless status are still vulnerable to unstable living circumstances and ill health.

“The integration activity and its on-going evaluation will allow the health and social care professionals involved in their care to undertake collaborative effort in managing and preventing illnesses.

“They will also assist in maintaining healthy lifestyles through supported self-care to maintain a healthy diet, active lifestyle, and abstinence from hazardous drinking and substance misuse.”

The team’s research has also previously looked at how homeless patients in Aberdeen manage their medications and the barriers they face in retaining and maintaining adherence to their medicines.

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Ross AndersonCommunications Officer | Health and Sport