Background: Although the poor health of people experiencing homelessness is increasingly recognised in health discourse, there is a dearth of research that has quantified the nature and magnitude of chronic health issues and morbidity among people experiencing homelessness, particularly in the Australian context. Methods: Analysis of the medical records of 2068 “active” patients registered with a specialist homeless health service in Perth, Western Australia as of 31 December 2019. Results: Overall, 67.8% of patients had at least one chronic physical health condition, 67.5% had at least one mental health condition, and 61.6% had at least one alcohol or other drug (AOD) use disorder. Nearly half (47.8%) had a dual diagnosis of mental health and AOD use issues, and over a third (38.1%) were tri-morbid (mental health, AOD and physical health condition). Three-quarters (74.9%) were multimorbid or had at least two long-term conditions (LTCs), and on average, each patient had 3.3 LTCs. Conclusions: The study findings have substantial implications from both a health risk and healthcare treatment perspective for people experiencing homeless. The pervasiveness of preventable health conditions among people experiencing homelessness also high-lights the imperative to improve the accessibility of public health programs and screening to reduce their morbidity and premature mortality.
|Journal||International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health|
|Publication status||Published - 2 Jun 2021|