Abstract

Homeless veterans have numerous medical and behavioral health problems. Grouping homeless people based on comorbidity patterns may assist in determining severity of illness and triaging health care more effectively. We sought to determine if a finite number of profiles could be identified related to demographic characteristics, living situation, length of homelessness, and referral areas using interview data from 2,733 veterans who were presently or recently homeless. We considered 12 disorders: eye problems, hypertension, cardiovascular problems, COPD/emphysema, tuberculosis, gastrointestinal problems, hepatic disease, neurologic disorders, orthopedic problems, skin problems, and trauma. Ratings were evaluated using cluster analysis. Comparison statistics were used to compare intercluster differences in demographics, homeless situation, and referral recommendations. A four-cluster solution is proposed: generalized illness, hepatic disease, lung disease, and neurologic disorder. Medical health problems are common and heterogeneous in homeless individuals. Classifications of these problems may be useful in planning treatment and predicting outcome.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-6869
Print ISSN
1049-2089
Pages
pp. 991-1005
Launched on MUSE
2008-07-30
Open Access
No
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