A Profile of the Health of Homeless at an Inner City Primary Health Care Clinic in South Africa

By Deanne Johnston, BPharm, MPharm Patricia McInerney, PhD  Professor Jacqui Miot  |  | 

Abstract: People who are homeless present for care with poor health status, influenced by their physical and social environment. Trinity Health Services is an interprofessional student-run clinic providing free health care to the inner city homeless of Johannesburg, South Africa. This descriptive survey profiled the disease conditions of the homeless through a retrospective review of patient files, documented on a predesigned case report form. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. A total of 240 patient visits were reviewed from January– December 2016. Several patients reported consuming alcohol (n=76), smoking cigarettes (n=80) and/or using recreational drugs (n=17). Patients commonly presented
with conditions related to the respiratory (n=56) and digestive systems (n=32). The clinic dispenses medication according to a restricted formulary where analgesics (n=93), antibiotics (n=33), antihistamines (n=25) and vitamins (n=20) were prescribed frequently. This study provided baseline information to which the clinic can tailor the services provided.
Keywords: Homeless, student-run clinic, inner-city, primary health care.

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