On May 12, International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world in recognition of the significant contribution nurses make to the health of society.
In Brisbane’s south, three dedicated nurses are providing health care to the most vulnerable in our society, people who are homeless.
St Vincent’s Private Hospital Brisbane (SVPHB), along with Micah Projects and Mater Health Services, provide an onsite seven-day nursing service that offers support, health assessment, education, medication management and general coordination of healthcare needs for tenantsat Brisbane Common Ground.
Brisbane Common Ground(BCG) is an innovative, supportive housing development at 15 Hope Street, South Brisbane, that provides 146 studio and one-bedroom units for people who have experienced homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless.
Many of the residents at BCG have been unable to access health care services in the past, but with the stability that comes withsafe and reliable housing, their health is now a priority.
Registered Nurse Arif Mansuri, who has worked at BCG since it’s opening, has seen firsthand the difference basic healthcare can make in the lives of homeless people.
Recently Arif helped care for an elderly woman who was experiencing anxiety, depression and overall bad health for years.
“I remember the first day I met her, she was so scared and unwell and she tried to hide it for a long time. But because we provide in-home care the other staff and I were able to pick up on it and see she received the correct multidisciplinary care she needed,” Arif said.
“She is now enjoying life. She has joined our meditation and art groups and when I see her she always has a smile on her face.”
SVPHB general manager Cheryle Royle said the support we provide BCG is helping break down barriers homeless people face in receiving adequate healthcare.
“Homeless people encounter multiple barriers to accessing services for their general health including the fear of experiencing the social stigma that comes with being homeless,” Cheryle said.
“I’m proud of our involvement which not only includes nursing care, our specialists are now visiting BCG and in the future we hope to establish an onsite GP clinic.”
Arif believes the unique delivery of care provided at BCG is what makes it so successful in helping residents.
“The key to providing healthcare to formerly homeless people is to develop a friendship with them first. There needs to be trust,” Arif said.
“Myself and the other two nurses at BCG believe in active listening and are always non -judgemental of our patients.”
“Nothing is more rewarding then when a patient comes up to you smiling and gives you a hug and says how well they are doing and much they are enjoying life again.”