Hepatitis C is a common reason for frequent emergency room (ER) visits by homeless people, and mental health disorders and hepatitis C fuel repeat visits for those with substance use histories, a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) and Boston Medical Center researchers shows.
The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, recommends that in order to reduce frequent use of emergency services, resources should be devoted to providing stable housing and targeted services for homeless patients with hepatitis C and mental health disorders.
“Prior research has identified homelessness as a risk factor for hepatitis C, thus suggesting that stable housing could play a role in the prevention of hepatitis C and its associated risks,” the study says. “These results may also have implications for improving treatment for hepatitis C patients.
“If primary care programs for homeless individuals focus on hepatitis C management and treatment, the expense of newer, potentially curative, hepatitis C pharmacotherapeutics may be mitigated by a decrease in ER visits.”
To learn more about the study, go to: http://www.bu.edu/sph/2015/05/21/repeat-er-visits-among-homeless-driven-by-hepatitis-c/