In 2021, Street Nurses celebrate their 15th anniversary. Over the years, thanks to the field experience and the adaptability of its workers, the organisation has developed and refined its methodology. The latter is based on hygiene and health as means towards reintegration and by creating a bond with the most vulnerable homeless people and stimulating their sense of self-esteem. Gradually, we broadened that vision and paid more attention to the patients’ return to a home of their own.
In 2011, the “housing” section, created in addition to the “street” section, implemented this element, which has become essential for our work. That’s how ten years ago the first patient could move into lodgings. Since then, we followed this approach systematically. By now, 156 people have again found stable and durable homes.
This brought up the question as to when we could let our patients go. Under what conditions? Following which procedure?
These questions were discussed in a working group, which led to the setting up of the organisation’s new section My Way. Its very objective is the ending of the follow-up so as to make the patients completely autonomous. They are then considered full citizens and no longer patients.
Following the work of this group, we consider that 10 years is a sufficiently long period, not only in epidemiological terms but also for shortening the list of patients we follow.
This means that we will stop follow-up as soon as a person has been housed continuously for 10 years, privately or in an institution, i.e. without relapsing into a life on the street.
No such decision is planned for 2021. The My Way section will however work out how the ending of the follow-up can be presented to patients in the most positive way, insisting on their development and the road they travelled.