Public Healthcare Service Delivery

Public Healthcare Service Delivery

Homeless adults have high levels of health care use and often obtain their care in emergency departments. Homeless people are admitted to hospital up to 5 times more often than the general population and stay in hospital longer than other low-income patients. These prolonged stays in hospital result in significant excess health care costs. 

Homeless patients are sometimes discharged to shelters, even when their ability to cope in such a setting is marginal at best. One solution to this problem is the development of respite facilities to provide homeless people with a protected environment for recuperation after a stay in hospital. 

Homeless people face many barriers that impair their access to health care. Although Canada has a system of universal health insurance, many homeless people do not possess proof of coverage because their identification has been lost or stolen.In addition, many homeless people do not fill prescriptions they have received because they do not have insurance benefits and cannot afford the cost of the medication. 

Homeless people face other barriers to health care that are unrelated to insurance status. Homelessness entails a daily struggle for the essentials of life. These competing priorities may impede homeless adults from using health care services,particularly those perceived as discretionary. In addition,many health recommendations regarding rest or dietary changes may be unattainable.