Items in AFP with MESH term: Homeless Persons
ABSTRACT: In 2004, the National Guidelines Clearinghouse placed eight guidelines from the National Health Care for the Homeless Council on its Web site. Seven of the guidelines are on specific disease processes and one is on general care. In addition to straightforward clinical decision making, the guidelines contain medical information specific to patients who are homeless. These guidelines have been endorsed by dozens of physicians who spend a large part of their clinical time caring for some of the millions of adults and children who find themselves homeless each year in the United States. In one guideline, physicians are prompted to keep in mind that someone living on the street does not always have access to water for taking medication. Another guideline points out the difficulty of eating a special diet when the patient depends on what the local shelter serves. As the number of homeless families and individuals increases, family physicians need to become aware of medically related information specific to this population. This can help ensure that physicians continue to offer patient-centered care with minimal adherence barriers.
Health Care for the Homeless in America - Editorials
Care of the Homeless: An Overview - Article
ABSTRACT: Homelessness affects men, women, and children of all races and ethnicities. On any given night, more than 610,000 persons in the United States are homeless; a little more than one-third of these are families. Homeless persons are more likely to become ill, have greater hospitalization rates, and are more likely to die at a younger age than the general population. The average life span for a homeless person is between 42 and 52 years. Homeless children are much sicker and have more academic and behavioral problems. Insufficient personal income and the lack of affordable housing are the major reasons for homelessness. Complex, advanced medical problems and psychiatric illnesses, exacerbated by drug and alcohol abuse, in combination with the economic and social issues (such as the lack of housing and proper transportation) make this subset of the population a unique challenge for the health care system, local communities, and the government. An integrated, multidisciplinary health care team with an outreach focus, along with involvement of local and state agencies, seems best suited to address the components needed to ensure quality of care, to help make these patients self-sufficient, and to help them succeed. Family physicians are well suited to manage the needs of the homeless patient, provide continuity of care, and lead these multidisciplinary teams.