According to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association on a Chicago Housing for Health Partnership program that links hospitals working for the homeless and chronically ill patients, the results are quite encouraging. The organization works on an unfortunate and a common situation of ill homeless people who after being discharged from hospitals, end up on the streets and with no regular health care that lead to their health deterioration.
The report informs that stabilizing these patients with regular help could result in fewer medical crises and without them returning to hospitals frequently. This was amply proved even at home care for homeless in Canada.
In a study conducted at Stroger Hospital and Mt. Sinai Hospital in Chicago, over 400 homeless individuals were recruited with some kind of chronic medical conditions and they had participated to test the validity of the hypothesis.
Half of these individuals were assigned to an intervention group. These people were provided with housing and were also provided help by social workers. The other half were provided with “usual care” and were discharged to a respite centre or a shelter.
The study found that there were significant benefits of intervention. The homeless people who received assistance had fewer visits to the emergency department as well as 29 percent fewer hospitalizations at the end of the study period.
That means, the expected benefits come to 49 fewer hospitalization for every 100 homeless adults who were provided assistance as well as 270 fewer hospital days while the figure for emergency department visits were 116 lower.
The report reveals that people get attached to primary care with stable housing and are better positioned to follow the medical advices given.
It is also found for the homeless people at home care for homeless in Toronto find a shelter to sleep and eat and also get regular medicines, there is no need for them to be in and out of hospitals or else from emergency rooms always.
As an example, the report cited the case of Sam, a middle-aged homeless man who had arthritis, gout and cirrhosis of the liver and was involved in the study, often waking up “disoriented and dizzy” earlier than usual and kept drinking till he came across Stroger Hospital. There a social worker asked him to enroll in the study that he told was the turning point in his life. Soon he forgot his miseries that he underwent beforehand as he got an apartment and got regular health care. Now he does not drink anymore and is leading a healthy lifestyle.
The program is still in progress as the authorities find it bringing such a sea change in the life of the homeless people.