Authors: Chris Lloyd, Darren Taggart and Rod Nathan, QLD
Event: 2011 TheMHS Conference
Subject: CLINICAL ISSUES, homelessness
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: Health problems of the homeless represent a significant community concern. Homelessness produces an economic burden on the health care system. Homeless people lack access to the protective effects of steady housing, transportation and health care. Chronic diseases have been identified as prevalent among the homeless population and it has been reported that a frequent diagnosis is that of diabetes mellitus. The Homeless Health Outreach Team, consisting of a multidisciplinary team of health professionals, was established to assist people who have mental health and drug and alcohol issues and who are homeless. Less than one-third of homeless people with mental illness actually receives treatment and faces numerous challenges to health care (Commonwealth of Australia, 2008). The outreach team visits ‘feeds’ and ‘shelters’ and a nurse screens for both physical and mental health problems. A brief physical examination evaluates weight, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels (BSL) and provides preliminary assessment of physical complaints such as wounds or ulcers.