Optimising access to healthcare for patients experiencing homelessness in hospital emergency departments


The ED is often the first and sometimes the only place where people experiencing homelessness seek medical assistance. While access to primary healthcare is a preferable and more cost-effective alternative to ED, for many reasons, people experiencing homelessness are much less likely to have a regular General Practitioner compared to those living in stable accommodation. Drawing on a growing body of emergency care and homelessness literature and practice, we have synthesised four potential interventions to optimise access to care when people experiencing homelessness present to an ED. Although EDs are in no way responsible for resolving the complex health and social issues of their local homeless population, they are a common contact point and therefore present an opportunity to improve access to healthcare.


homelessness, access to healthcare, emergency department

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