Nursing Service at Elizabeth Street Common Ground

Launch Housing’s Elizabeth Street Common Ground (ESCG) is a successful housing first model offering permanent housing, with on-site support services available for residents.

Located in the heart of Melbourne, ESCG was established in 2010 and comprises 65 single studio apartments for people experiencing long-term homelessness who have range of complex physical, and mental health needs. Many residents have experienced long-term marginalisation, and isolation, as well as early childhood trauma, and domestic and family violence.

To address the spectrum of resident healthcare demand, the nursing service which launched June 2018, offers clinical care to residents on-site. This service provides ESCG residents with professional, highly flexible clinical care services which reduces obstacles to accessing healthcare.

The on-site nurse endeavours to identify, and partner with residents, to build robust relationships in this unique community.

The ESCG Site Manager says the nurse is an inspirational and highly skilled clinical staff member, working to coordinate and respond to on-going medical needs while collaborating closely with ESCG Support Workers on site.

The Nursing Service at ESCG is made possible by the generous funding from The Brian & Virginia McNamee Foundation. This philanthropically funded service means ESCG residents are able to access vital healthcare services on-site.

Clinical Care

Residents frequently access the Nursing Service. In a four-month period more than half of supported residents attended nursing consultations. There have been a total of 247 clinical consolations across 36.5 clinic days from May to August 2018.

On-site clinical services include:

  • Wound care, suture removal, blood pressure monitoring, and coordinating medications;
  • Diet, smoking, lifestyle advice, and health education;
  • Substance withdrawal support;
  • Coordinating, liaising, and booking appointments;
  • Attending medical appointments with residents.

In addition, the nursing service supports and assists with mental health, and complex medical needs.

This can include:

  • Residents with either a very low or high Body Mass Index;
  • Residents at each end of the age distribution i.e. under 35 and over 65;
  • Residents who are Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI), and female;
  • Residents with Hepatitis C, who are also a high priority in line with the Australian Government Eliminate Hepatitis C Strategy.

Many residents have multiple physical, and mental health challenges which requires on-going attention and care. Dental health is another area which causes significant distress and pain, as many residents haven’t had the housing stability needed to attend to significant dental health issues.

General Practitioner & Counsellor at ESCG

Besides the Nursing Service, ESCG offers additional healthcare services 1-2 days a week with a qualified counsellor, and General Practitioner available. Staff refer residents to the optional counselling service, and after the resident has an initial meeting with the counsellor a General Practitioner can provide a mental health care plan for counselling. Since ESCG opened in 2010, a General practitioner has been available to assist residents with medical advice and health issues. ESCG cultivates a team environment with involvement from the nurse, General Practitioner, and counsellor.

This combined healthcare response gives residents a chance to improve overall well-being, create meaningful relationships, and address a spectrum of clinical needs.

“I know building trust, and caring for resident’s health and emotional needs makes an incredible difference to their well-being, and stability,” said the Site Manager at Elizabeth Street Common Ground.

The integrated healthcare service at Elizabeth Street Common Ground means on-going medical needs can be addressed by qualified healthcare professionals, who understand the unique needs of people who have experienced long-term homelessness.

 Elizabeth Street Common Ground was established 2010, and accommodates 131 studio apartments comprising those who have experienced homelessness and low income earners. The building is owned and managed by Unison, and Launch Housing provides the staff for 24/7 emotional and logistical support for tenants, including onsite medical and health professionals.

Learn more about the benefits of permanent supportive housing to ending homelessness and read Eva’s story.