Homeless Have a Hard Time Accessing Health Care

by John McAlister
Categories: Blog
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Homeless Have a Hard Time Accessing Health Care

Homeless Have a Hard Time Accessing Health Care

According to a new study at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital, barriers of all kinds are standing in the way of homeless people accessing health services in Canada.
Competing priorities, including finding shelter, food and employment, are cited as factors that can delay seeking medical attention. Also, many people have had a hard time finding a family doctor, but that’s also more difficult for homeless people, particularly for those whose provincial health card was lost or stolen, as reported by a number of people in the study.
And, even if a homeless person does have a family doctor, transportation costs can prevent them from getting there for an appointment, The study also reports that some homeless have had negative experiences with health-care professionals and were made to feel unwelcome and stigmatized. That often results in a person who, although they have needs, is reluctant to seek care because they had such a bad experience the last time.
In addition to our publicly funded health-care system, should we provide special systems of care for those who are particularly disadvantaged?