Street Medicine: Providing Healthcare to the Homeless

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Dec 15, 2023, 11:56:42 PM12/15/23

Homelessness is a pressing issue in many countries around the world. While governments and non-profit organizations work to provide shelter and basic necessities, access to healthcare remains a challenge for many homeless individuals. This is where street medicine comes in.  

Street medicine is a unique approach to healthcare that involves bringing medical care to people living on the streets. It originated in the United States in the 1990s and has since spread to other countries around the world. The goal of street medicine is to provide basic healthcare services to homeless individuals who may not have access to traditional healthcare.

Street medicine practitioners typically work in teams that include doctors, nurses, social workers, and outreach workers. They go out into the community to meet with homeless individuals, providing medical care and connecting them with other resources they may need, such as housing and food assistance.

One of the key benefits of street medicine is that it meets people where they are. Homeless individuals may be hesitant to seek out traditional healthcare services due to various barriers, such as lack of transportation or fear of discrimination. Bringing healthcare directly to the streets helps to break down these barriers and make healthcare more accessible.

Research demonstrates that 30 to 40 percent of homeless people have a cognitive impairment, including traumatic brain injury, learning difficulties, intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Another benefit of street medicine is that it takes a holistic approach to healthcare. Practitioners work to address not just physical health concerns, but also mental health and social determinants of health, such as access to healthy food and safe housing. This approach can help to improve overall health outcomes for homeless individuals.

Despite its many benefits, street medicine is not without its challenges. Practitioners may face safety concerns when working in the streets, and funding for street medicine programs can be limited. However, the impact of street medicine on the lives of homeless individuals cannot be overstated.

In conclusion, street medicine is a vital approach to healthcare that helps to bridge the gap between homeless individuals and traditional healthcare services. By providing medical care directly to the streets, street medicine practitioners are able to meet the unique needs of this vulnerable population and improve their overall health outcomes.

Dr. Henny Kupferstein (she/her)

Save a penny, Vote Henny ! 
Assembly 77 2024 
Coastal San Diego, Candidate
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