The Matthew Talbot Hostel Primary Health Clinic is a nurse-led health service and accredited GP Practice for men who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness.
22 Talbot Place, Woolloomooloo
The Primary Health Clinic at the Matthew Talbot Hostel has been in existence for about 35 years and is widely recognised as a key provider of primary health care (including preventative care and chronic disease management) as well as specialist medical and allied health care to homeless men and men at risk of homelessness in the inner city of Sydney.
The Matthew Talbot Hostel Health Clinic operates out of recognition that poor health, including poor mental health, can be both a cause and an effect of homelessness. Supporting the health needs of those experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness increases the likelihood of assisting a person out of homelessness and of improving their quality of life once they are housed.
The Matthew Talbot Hostel Health Clinic operates from a value of Health Equity. The Clinic believes that all people have a right to access high quality health care and that many community-based health care services create barriers to care for those who are marginalised, disadvantaged and/or homeless. The consequences of this lack of access include: extreme poor health, premature ageing, and early death. People who experience chronic homelessness are likely to die 25-30 years earlier than those who have not experienced homelessness. Death is usually attributable to preventable illness. Expensive hospital admissions and emergency department presentations are significantly reduced when accessible, high quality and culturally sensitive health care is freely available and specifically targeted to this group of people.
The Clinic is nurse-led and uses a multi-disciplinary teamwork model to manage the complex, individual health care needs of its clients. Clinic staff manage the care of approximately 80 people every day in well over 100 occasions of service and works closely with their patient’s case managers the hostel support staff and activity coordinators across the Woolloomooloo site to provide genuine, person centred wrap around support.
One of the most important services the Health Clinic provides is the Medication Service. The nurses manage the medication of about 60 people per day, whether they reside at the Matthew Talbot Hostel, are rough sleeping or live in unstable or unsuitable housing in the surrounding community. They are often extremely unwell people and typically have a diagnosed mental illness a number of co-occurring physical health problems and/or addictions. About 20% have Hepatitis C. The medication service both ensures that they are supported to take their medication as prescribed and creates opportunities to ‘check in’ with the individual on a daily basis.
The Clinic provides registered nurses, a GP, psychiatrists, medication management, general health assessments, drop-in services for any health problem, referrals into specialist health services and transitional healthcare support. In addition to everyday services, the staff manage a range of specialist clinics. These include: optometry, heart failure, podiatry, diabetes, immunisation, smoking cessation, Hepatitis C, and metabolic health clinics. Currently we have a ‘pop up’ clinic managed by one of our RNs with specialist skills in applying for NDIS packages. In less than 6 months she has successfully applied for almost 60 packages for our patients. Access to health care is offered with as few barriers as possible. Emphasis is placed on providing a comprehensive suite of preventative and general health services, to better manage and maintain the health of the people we serve.
Men aged 18 and over.