Patients experiencing homelessness can add extra layers of complexities to emergency or inpatient care. Dr. Joe Mega provides some much needed perspective about the needs of our patients experiencing homelessness and how healthcare professionals can care for them more effectively.
When people are in the throes of addiction, this is often their #1 priority and they live in fear of experiencing withdrawal
IF YOUR PATIENT IS BECOMING UNCOMFORTABLE DUE TO WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS AND WANTS TO LEAVE THE HOSPITAL
Ask questions like these:
Present the situation to the physician in a constructive way such as “I’m worried that the patient might leave, because they’re starting to feel unwell. What do you think about giving them something to help prevent withdrawal such as x, y, and z”
It’s important to put it in the context of how easy it is, for someone with resources in home to access food, and then compare it to a person who doesn’t have a home. Just opening a refrigerator and getting access to some to what they want to eat is, is not a convenience that most people have.
Be Trauma Aware
The homeless have often experienced extreme trauma and horrible experiences that either contributed to their homelessness or resulted from it.
It’s important to be “trauma informed” and consider reframing your mindset from “What is wrong the patient” to “What happened to the patient?”
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The Piketon Massacre
The most notorious mass murder in Ohio’s history happened on the night of April 21, 2016 in rural Pike County. Four crime scenes, thirty-two gunshot wounds, eight members of the Rhoden family left dead in their homes. Two years later a local family of four, the Wagners, are arrested and charged with the crimes. As the Wagners await four back-to-back capital murder trials, the KT Studios team revisits Pike County to examine: crime-scene forensics, upcoming legal proceedings, and the ties that bind the victims and the accused. As events unfold and new crimes are uncovered, what will it mean for all involved? What will it mean for Pike County?