Homelessness doesn’t take a holiday. It's all day and all night for people who have nowhere to call home. While the festive season is a happy time for most of us, it’s a very lonely time for the homeless. And few of the services they rely on remain open.
This $10,000 will make sure Youth Projects' 'Night Nurses' can provide extra help during times of crisis when health conditions, hunger, depression and despair get worse for people who are homeless. We need these nurses out on foot providing health care and counselling where no one else goes. In fact it is one of only three street night nursing programs in the world.
Highly trained registered nurses, they all have extra skills in mental health and drug counselling. Nobody should feel so alone at a time when they feel most excluded.
The huge increase in people who are homeless has meant the nurses have faced a 141% increase in demand for their help in one year. But there has been no extra funding. Last year, between Christmas and New Year, the nurses treated over two hundred homeless people who were suffering from worsening physical and mental health, with no other support available to them. We want to make this year better.
The extra shifts last year meant that there was a continual access to critical medical care and mental health support. The problems they treated were general health issues, mental health support, social support, dental care and wound care. Many people were able to receive immediate help with their problems which prevented them presenting to an emergency department or facing worsening mental health.
The Night Nurses are the After Hours Primary Care program run by Youth Projects, which is a not-for-profit organisation established in 1985. Youth Projects provides a highly connected model of care across multiple areas of need, all at the same time, making it easier for people to get help: a free medical clinic, outreach drug safety, alcohol and drug counselling, mental health counselling, employment, apprenticeships, and nationally accredited education and training.
Youth Projects promotes inclusion, builds resilience and creates opportunities.
Nurses delivered over 2,300 episodes of care on the pavement last year. From a homeless women in labour on Swanston Street to people with serious, sometimes terminal illness, with no care or support, living on our streets. They make sure health conditions are treated early and don't get worse. They check blood pressure and breathing, and ensure wounds and infections are treated while also ensuring mental health problems are addressed.They save lives, but also save time, money and pressure for already busy ambulances, hospitals, emergency departments.
Delivering a sustainable and adequate level of care is an ongoing challenge, with rising numbers of people who need help, but with your support, we can make a change to this significant issue facing these underprivileged community members.
Since Youth Projects introduced the night nurse program, the number of epodes of care the nurses deliver each shift has risen steadily.
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