@giveyoursole, @hardlynormal, @hanes Basic Wound care is simple. Keep it clean and dry and don’t touch it until it heals.
Great. But what if you don’t have access to showers and toilets or bandages, or someone to help you clean and bandage the wound? What if you are homeless and forced to spend all day walking so laying in bed is simply not an option?
What I have seen happen is
- You repeatedly return to the ER for treatment
- You use home-grown treatments like pouring vodka on the wound to keep it clean
- You let it go and eventually have an amputation or just die from additional complications
The most common wounds for a person who has no housing or stable shelter are: Trauma (from being hit, punched, stabbed, etc) , venous stasis ulcers (where the blood pools in your feet and legs from long periods of standing or walking and circulation is poor), Diabetic Foot Ulcers, and injection site infections from IV drug use.
wow, two of these involve the legs and feet – no wonder I keep hearing about @giveyoursole and @hanes and @hardlynormal attempting to give shoes and socks to the homeless! It isn’t as if patients with food wounds have somewhere to lie with their feet up all day. they must walk to find food and shelter and shade.
There is healthcare available to people who have SSI and Medi-Cal/Medicare but for the vast number of uninsured homeless people – there is very little. They may not know about the free health clinics or USC and UCLA medical students who visit Skid Row.
Not all homeless people live on skid row. A Homeless person who is crashing at a friend’s house or in the suburbs is cut off from the street evangelists of the local missions and nonprofits so they may not run into anyone who has the answer or resources for their need.
Some wound care requires visits from nurses – but if your address is not static, it is simply too hard for the medical professional to come to you.
I have the honor of knowing one of the foremost experts in the field of wound Care, Barbara Bates-Jensen, and have had the chance to listen to her talk about going to Haiti to treat the injured among the poverty and third world conditions. I think I am going to ask her for suggestions about wound care in the homeless.
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