15 December 2010

If you are running winter provision for the Homeless - assess for overdose risk

It's going to be a very cold winter and, mercifully, emergency cold weather provision will be opened up around the UK to provide much needed respite for people who are homeless this winter. Such provision is, of course, a life saving intervention and is often provided on a shoe-string by voluntary organisations and faith-groups.

In order to make the provision still more safe and life-preserving, organisers should be able to assess and respond to people who are at risk of overdose. Early identification of people at risk, and intervening with education, support and staff awareness can help reduce the incidence of overdose, and reduce the risk of fatality in the event of overdose.

To assist this process, KFx developed the Housing Opiate Overdose Risk Assessment Tool (HOORAT). It is a simple assessment tool which can be completed with a resident to assess level of opiate-related overdose risk. The tool was originally developed a couple of years ago. Thanks to the support of Homelesslink it has been slightly ammended and the supporting notes have been expanded to make it more self-explanatory. It is being jointly promoted by KFx and Homelesslink as part of their Evictions and Abandonments project.

The tool will take less than five minutes to administer and can help identify residents most at risk of overdose. The document explores strategies for reducing this risk and how housing providers can ensure that they have interventions in place to address this risk.

HOORAT can be downloaded free of charge from the KFx-run Drugs and Housing Website

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