Emergency Room Overcrowding And Emergency Rooms Essay example

Emergency Room Overcrowding And Emergency Rooms Essay example

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Approximately half of a million Americans are homeless, living in shelters or living on the streets (Galea & Vlahov, 2002). The homeless population utilizes the emergency room to gain access to primary care, nutrition, pharmaceutical supplies and basic needs. The utilization of the emergency room with non-medical or non-emergent issues is contributing to emergency room overcrowding (Galea & Vlahov, 2002). These needs to be relocated out of the emergency room within the hospital so they can be easily obtained by the homeless population the hospital serves. Addressing the needs of the homeless client at our hospitals will reduce emergency room overcrowding and improve the health of the homeless population.
Living without adequate housing increases a person’s morbidity and mortality which increases the needs of a patient’s visit to the emergency room (Montgomery, Dichter, Thomasson, Roberts & Byrne, 2015). These patients can have complex issues that are not always obvious and can cloud the effort to seek services, many time these issues do not meet emergency room criteria. These patients utilize the emergency room for non-medical issues for ease of access to items such as food, shelter, medication refills and showering. These clients know that their visit to the emergency room with a medical complaint which will automatically ensure they receive these services. These patients may come to the emergency room with a medical complaint, but they are seeking different needs than a regular patient, such as social issues and housing requests (Forchuk, Reiss, Mitchell, Ewen & Meier, 2015).
As an emergency room nurse, I found it very frustrating trying to address the issues of a homeless patient with limited resources and a full patient loa...

... middle of paper ...

...oom. The attention to the needs of this vulnerable population will maintain and improve their state of wellness and possibly address their long-term issues at hand once their basic needs are met.
The availability of alternatives to seeking assistance other than utilizing the emergency room for non-medical needs will, in my opinion, improve the flow of the emergency room, improve the level of wellness of the homeless population by giving access to refills and primary care. Health initiatives need to focus on improving the overall health and addressing social factors to be successful (Galea & Vlahov, 2002). This project will decrease the level of homelessness within the community the hospital serves. Treating and resolve mental, social and psychological issues that contribute to the problem of the homeless will alleviate the unnecessary visits to the emergency room.

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