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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Camp Hell: Anneewakee
The Anneewakee Treatment Center for Emotionally Disturbed Youth operated in Douglasville, Georgia for over 25 years. Purportedly, it was a place that parents could send their troubled kids for help. But in reality, it was a breeding ground for abuse. This is the story of Anneewakee, as never told before.
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