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Korean Journal of Epidemiology 1996;18(2): 191-201.
A Descriptive Study on Epidemiological Characteristics of Homeless Patients.
Moon Hee Jung
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to provide basic data for dealing with the medical problems of homeless patients in medical protection. To sampling by age, sex, and carried out on 2440 homeless patients who have been given medical treatment between Jan. 1 Dec 31 in 1994 in the municipal D hospital in Seoul. Thus medical records of 172 patients were selected as the target data of this study. The selected data were analyzed by means of CATS, t-test, ANOVA, Pearson correlation coefficients and multiple regression. Some significant results could be obtained as follows. 1. Epidemiological characteristics The average age of the patients was 40.59 : Their ages were distributed between 20 and 84, the median being 37. As for the admission season, winter overwhelmed any other season : 30.8 % of the patients were admitted in winter. 2. Medical characteristics The days of treatment had a tendency to increase in proportion to the ages of patients : age 20-30 group took the least (average 1.92 days) and age 51-60 group took the most (average 2. 35 days). When it comes to the degree of drinking, 66 out of 172 patients(38.8%) suffered from alcohol or drug abuse. All of them had more than two kinds of diseases and 47. 0% of them were admitted in winter. As for the number of diseases, those who had been admitted in winter and autumn had the most and the least ones respectively. From the view point of age, age 51-60 group had the most and age 31-40 group had the least diseases. Viewed from the point of the days of treatment, those who had been treated for more than two days had more diseases than those treated for one day. From the viewpoint of administrative measures, the group committed by the police had more diseases than the other group and the group who had been treated free of charge had more diseases than the other group. The number of diseases was very closely related to the degree of drinking(Pearson correlation coefficients 0.877): No less than 77.83% of the diseases could be explained by only age and the degree of drinking. The above results implies that the government measures for the homeless patients should be reconsidered. They should not simply be accommodated in the social welfare facilities with a view to maintaining the order of the society. Instead we should admit them as economically weak class and deal with their medical problems in the field of medical protection.


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