Profile of homeless people in emergency departments
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Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Toruń, Poland (Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, Department of Emergency Medicine)
University Hospital No. 2 in Bydgoszcz, Bydgoszcz, Poland (Clinical Department of Emergency Medicine)
University of Technology and Life Sciences in Bydgoszcz, Bydgoszcz, Poland (Department of Management)
Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Toruń, Poland (Collegium Medicum in Bydgoszcz, Department of Gastroenterology and Nutritional Disorders)
Online publication date: 2021-09-22
Corresponding author
Anna M. Burak   

University Hospital No. 2 in Bydgoszcz, Clinical Department of Emergency Medicine, Ujejskiego 75, 85-168 Bydgoszcz
Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2022;35(2):157-67
Objectives: For homeless people, emergency departments (ED) are the place of medical care and satisfying physiological, safety and social needs. The treatment of the homeless in EDs is a common issue in many countries. The aim of study was to analyze selected parameters of health care to homeless people in EDs. The authors examined the frequency and the seasonality of admissions, their causes, stay duration, insurance status, and the type of radiological diagnostics performed. Material and Methods: A retrospective analysis of stays of homeless patients in 3 EDs in one of the largest cities in Poland in 2013–2015 was carried out. Patients were qualified to the population of homeless people based of their registering in ED. Data was obtained on the total number of homeless patients’ stays in all 3 EDs, which amounted to 3133. Results: During the 3 years of analysis: 1042 homeless individuals were identified staying 3133 times in EDs; 46.3% of the stays concerned uninsured homeless people; 31% were under influence of alcohol. On average, men used ED services 3 times, while women only twice. No significant seasonality of admissions was observed. Homeless people were admitted mainly for mental disorders and head injuries. Radiological tests were performed 1577 times, including 83% being CT scans. On average, women and those >30 stayed in EDs for the shortest time. The hospital wards admitted 9.3% of the patients. Conclusions: Almost half of homeless patients repeatedly use ED services, regardless of the season. A patient’s stay typically lasts 6 h. Half of them were uninsured. The main reasons for admission include mental and behavioral disorders, mostly due to alcohol use and head injuries. The primary radiological diagnostics used were CT scans. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2022;35(2):157–67
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