Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Nursing

Supervisor(s)

Dr. Cheryl Forchuk

Abstract

Studies on homelessness have shown that people who are homeless are admitted to hospital more frequently, for longer periods of time, and at a younger age than people who are housed. Once admitted to hospital, discharge planning is difficult and resource intensive, often leading to discharge back to the streets or a shelter. This puts this population at risk for complications and readmission. Although people who are homeless are prone to orthopedic injuries, there is no research on the outcomes of patients who are homeless with orthopedic injuries. This retrospective, case control study, based on the social determinants of health, looks at the effect of housing status on the length of stay, and, the outcomes of infection and attendance at follow up in the orthopedic population of a mid-sized academic tertiary care hospital in Southwestern Ontario. The records of thirty-three matched pairs of housed and homeless orthopedic patients were examined. Findings showed that homeless patients have longer lengths of stay, are less likely to attend clinic follow up appointments, are more likely to return to the emergency department, and have higher rates of readmission for infections. The results of this study show that interventions are needed to improve the health outcomes of people who are homeless and reduce the associated costs to the health care system.