By Josephine Reid
The most common health risks include mortality and unintentional injuries, musculoskeletal disorders and chronic pain, hunger and nutrition, skin & foot problems, dental problems, and more. Health professions that align with these issue are needed to be the best aid to the homeless population.
When checking for malnutrition which is a huge aspect of homelessness, a doctor may do one of several things: look at a person's height and weight or body mass index (BMI) to see whether it's in the healthy range, check for diseases or conditions that might be the underlying cause of malnutrition, use blood tests to check for nutritional deficiencies, order other tests based on a person's medical history and physical exam.
To correct problems related to malnutrition, a doctor or dietitian will recommend specific changes in the types and quantities of foods that a person eats, and might prescribe dietary supplements, such as vitamins and minerals. Other treatment may be necessary for people who are found to have a specific disease or condition causing their malnutrition. Malnutrition affects people of every age, although infants, children, and adolescents may suffer the most because many nutrients are critical for normal growth and development.
Alcohol can interfere with nutrient absorption, so alcoholics may not benefit from the vitamins and minerals they consume. People who abuse drugs or alcohol might be malnourished or underweight because they don't eat properly.
To correct problems related to malnutrition, a doctor or dietitian will recommend specific changes in the types and quantities of foods that a person eats, and might prescribe dietary supplements, such as vitamins and minerals. Other treatment may be necessary for people who are found to have a specific disease or condition causing their malnutrition.
As stated earlier, musculoskeletal conditions are very common across the homeless population. They can be effectively prevented and controlled in many situations but this is not at present fully achieved, partly because people—both the public and health professionals—are unaware of what modern management has to offer. When they do consult a primary care physician, the physician may not be expert or interested in the management of the musculoskeletal problem. Undergraduate medical education is inadequate in musculoskeletal conditions, and many primary care physicians do not gain any further specific training in the management of these conditions.
A podiatrist, also called a doctor of podiatric medicine would help with the massive feet issues among homeless people, is a specialist who provides medical diagnosis and treatment of foot and ankle problems, including, but not limited to sprains and fractures, bunions, heel pain/spurs, hammertoes, neuromas, ingrown toenails, warts, corns and calluses. A podiatrist also renders care of sprains, fractures, infections, and injuries of the foot, ankle and heel. In addition to undergraduate medical school training, podiatrists also attend graduate school for a doctorate in podiatry. Podiatrists are required to take state and national exams, as well as be licensed by the state in which they practice.
According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, there are more than 17,800 practicing podiatrists in the United States. Podiatrists are in demand more than ever today because of a rapidly aging population. In addition, according to the association, foot disorders are among the most widespread and neglected health problems affecting people in this country.
Pain management for chronic pain ,which is a leading health concern within homelessness, is an evolving field. You would need to posses current medical knowledge, regularly attend large pain meetings, and understands the new, emerging trends and understanding of the physiology and consequences of chronic pain so the patient can be treated appropriately with greater understanding.