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Can J Nurs Res. 2004 Jun;36(2):38-58.

Transitional health care for offenders being released from United States prisons.

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School of Nursing, State University of New York at Buffalo, USA.


Ex-offender managed health care can enhance post-release continuity of care by increasing access, decreasing acute-care episodes, controlling the spread of communicable diseases, and reducing the financial impact on public health-care systems. This study describes transitional health care for inmates with AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), hepatitis, mental illness, and substance abuse. The relationship between size of prison system and coordination of care was also investigated. A mail survey was completed by 33 chief medical officers of prison systems in the United States. Transitional health-care programs for ex-offenders vary widely and no significant relationship was found between number of inmates released per state annually and state coordination of transitional health care for supervised ex-offenders. All respondents reported some type of transitional health-care planning, usually either 1 month or 6 months prior to release. This included provision of post-release medication, referral to community health agencies, scheduling of appointments, and instruction in prevention of transmission. The majority of respondents reported that transitional health-care planning was coordinated by registered nurses. Specific measures for inmates with HIV/AIDS,TB, mental illness, and substance abuse were reported. Information about existing transitional health-care programs can help nurses and other health-care providers identify trends in transitional health-care planning and ensure continuity of care for released offenders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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