The medical problems of homeless clinic patients
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Objective:To compare the prevalences of major medical problems in homeless and nonhomeless patients.
Patients:All 475 persons seeking care at an ambulatory clinic serving the medically indigent for one calendar year.
Measurements and main results:Demographic and clinical data were collected by structured interviews and medical record reviews for all patients seeking care at the clinic between March 1989 and April 1990. Comparisons were made between homeless patients, those patients with unstable housing, and those with stable housing. There was no significant between-group difference in age, gender, ethnicity, and health insurance coverage. Homeless patients were more likely to be unemployed (p<0.001) and were found to have higher prevalences of alcohol abuse, injuries/fractures, and dental and gynecologic problems (p<0.05).
Conclusions:There were more similarities than differences in the prevalences of major medical problems in homeless vs. nonhomeless community clinic patients. Where differences did exist, homeless persons consistently had a higher prevalence of illness than did the non-homeless.
Key wordshomelessness health services comparative study
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