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Home > Homelessness amongst psychiatric inpatients: a cross-sectional study in the mid-west of Ireland.

Moloney, Noreen and O'Donnell, Patrick and Elzain, Musaab and Bashir, Ahmad and Dunne, Colum P and Kelly, Brendan D and Gulati, Gautam (2021) Homelessness amongst psychiatric inpatients: a cross-sectional study in the mid-west of Ireland. Irish Journal of Medical Science, Early online, . https://doi.org/10.1007/s11845-021-02546-x.


Background: This cross-sectional study sought to establish the prevalence of homelessness amongst inpatients in two psychiatric units in Ireland and explore the perceived relationship between psychiatric illness and homelessness.

Methods: The study employed a semi-structured interview format utilising a specifically designed questionnaire which received ethical approval from the Limerick University Hospitals Group ethics committee.

Results: Fifty psychiatric inpatients were interviewed. Fifteen were either “currently” homeless (n = 8) or had experienced “past” homelessness (n = 7). Those who had experienced homelessness were more likely to have a psychotic illness. A majority of those who had experienced homelessness believed that psychiatric illness contributed to their homelessness. Involuntary admission rates were more than double for patients in the homeless group. A number of participants also reported that a lack of accommodation was preventing their discharge.

Conclusion: Homelessness affects a significant number of psychiatric patients and can be both a contributory factor to, and consequence of, mental illness. With homelessness at unprecedented levels, there is a need for the development of tailored programmes aimed at supporting these vulnerable groups.

 

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