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Am J Public Health. 2002 May;92(5):778-84.

Emergency department use among the homeless and marginally housed: results from a community-based study.

Author information

  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine, University of California at San Francisco/San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, Calif 94143, USA. kushel@itsa.ucsf.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

This study examined factors associated with emergency department use among homeless and marginally housed persons.

METHODS:

Interviews were conducted with 2578 homeless and marginally housed persons, and factors associated with different patterns of emergency department use were assessed in multivariate models.

RESULTS:

Findings showed that 40.4% of respondents had 1 or more emergency department encounters in the previous year; 7.9% exhibited high rates of use (more than 3 visits) and accounted for 54.5% of all visits. Factors associated with high use rates included less stable housing, victimization, arrests, physical and mental illness, and substance abuse. Predisposing and need factors appeared to drive emergency department use.

CONCLUSIONS:

Efforts to reduce emergency department use among the homeless should be targeted toward addressing underlying risk factors among those exhibiting high rates of use.

PMID:
11988447
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1447161
Free PMC Article

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