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Homeless, Mentally Ill, and Drug-Addicted Patients 

Homeless, Mentally Ill, and Drug-Addicted Patients
Chapter:
Homeless, Mentally Ill, and Drug-Addicted Patients
Author(s):

John D. Chovan

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780190201708.003.0025
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date: 27 January 2020

Illustrated through the journey of a fictitious woman through a lifetime of mental illness, drug addiction, and homelessness, this chapter describes the challenges and special needs of communicating with persons living these circumstances as they face chronic and life-threatening illnesses. The magnitude of these underserved populations; their circumstances; the special needs of the homeless, mentally ill, and drug-addicted populations; and ways to overcome communication challenges that limit access to and delivery of appropriate healthcare throughout the trajectory of their illnesses are discussed. Techniques for communicating and documenting communication issues among patients and their families are offered as well as suggestions for interdisciplinary teams to learn to communicate across disciplines and specialties and focus on the outcome of maximizing quality of life-however the individuals define it for themselves. Recommendations drawn from the literature and personal experiences of the author round out the chapter as a tool for palliative care communication.

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