Sammer Tang, Gemma Dovey, James Mapstone
Journal of Paramedic Practice, Vol. 11, Iss. 2, 01 Feb 2019, pp 52 - 53

Homeless people often access health care only when a crisis arises (Martins, 2008). According to Deloitte (2012), the lack of a permanent address is one of the barriers for homeless people accessing community-based health care and primary care services. In addition, it has been reported that they often feel they negatively stand out, are not welcome, and are not treated equally to the general population in certain healthcare settings (Quilgars and Pleace, 2003). As a result, paramedics working in urgent and emergency care settings may well be the first and only health professionals accessed by homeless people. It must be recognised therefore that this healthcare encounter could be the key opportunity to improve the life course for this person. This comment provides information on homelessness for paramedics to consider when treating this vulnerable population. It describes the challenges present in the healthcare system in providing adequate care, and outlines the implications of the relatively recent Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 for paramedic practice.

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