In the woods and the shadows, street medicine treats the nation's homeless - The Washington Post online housing benefit form

In the woods and the shadows, street medicine treats the nation’s homeless – The Washington Post online housing benefit form

About 550,000 people in the united states were homeless in 2016 on a given night — according to the most recent estimate by the department of housing and urban development — and about a third of them were sleeping outside, in abandoned houses or in other unsheltered places not meant for human habitation. In santa barbara, calif., so many people live in their cars that the local street medicine team provides care in automobiles.

Federal and regional estimates for the number of homeless people in the lehigh valley — which includes the cities of allentown, bethlehem and easton — range from more than 700 to almost twice that number. But that’s likely a big undercount.

A research study of people who sought care at three area emergency rooms during the summer of 2015 and the following winter identified 7 percent as homeless.Online housing benefit form

feldman, who led the study, said the finding suggested that more than 9,200 of the health system’s emergency room patients were homeless sometime during the year — in communities with no permanent emergency beds for couples and fewer than two dozen for women.

The LVHN street medicine program, which he founded, takes care of about 1,500 people a year. Since 2015, it has pursued its mission relentlessly, taking laptops into the woods to get homeless patients insured, usually through medicaid; today, 74 percent have coverage. Over the same period, emergency room visits by the program’s patients have fallen by about three-quarters and admissions by roughly two-thirds.

It has taken feldman years to get to this point. In high school, he began lifting weights after getting into a car accident and fracturing three vertebrae.Online housing benefit form in 2000, as a freshman at pennsylvania state university, he won the national physique committee teen championship.

His close collaborator is his wife, corinne feldman, a physician assistant who is an assistant professor at desales university. When they first moved to the lehigh valley in 2005, the couple wanted to work with the homeless but couldn’t find them — until realizing they were in campsites in the woods. These days, one encampment is even in the shadow of a defunct bethlehem steel facility.

The feldmans started by setting up free clinics in shelters where they worked without pay. But a 2013 boston conference on street medicine sharpened their focus. They would go to wherever the homeless were.

By then a physician assistant at lehigh valley hospital, brett feldman got a grant from a local philanthropy, the dorothy rider pool health care trust, that allowed him to do street medicine one day a week.Online housing benefit form over time, he received more grants, as well as backing from the health system to set up a full-time street medicine program. It launched in 2014.

There have been numerous disappointments and heartbreaks: two patients at an encampment in bethlehem froze to death. A man with third-degree burns from sleeping on a heating vent fled rather than have his badly infected lower leg amputated. And before the psychiatrist could come out, duckie disappeared.

At the same time, there have been poignant victories. When a 50-year-old man, living in a drainage pipe, was given a diagnosis of advanced colon cancer, he declined treatment but eventually was able to move into an apartment, where the street-medicine team provided him palliative care. When his symptoms worsened and feldman said it was time to go to hospice, the man replied, first, I have to clean up the apartment because the landlord was so nice.Online housing benefit form

About 550,000 people in the united states were homeless in 2016 on a given night — according to the most recent estimate by the department of housing and urban development — and about a third of them were sleeping outside, in abandoned houses or in other unsheltered places not meant for human habitation. In santa barbara, calif., so many people live in their cars that the local street medicine team provides care in automobiles.

Federal and regional estimates for the number of homeless people in the lehigh valley — which includes the cities of allentown, bethlehem and easton — range from more than 700 to almost twice that number. But that’s likely a big undercount.

A research study of people who sought care at three area emergency rooms during the summer of 2015 and the following winter identified 7 percent as homeless.Online housing benefit form feldman, who led the study, said the finding suggested that more than 9,200 of the health system’s emergency room patients were homeless sometime during the year — in communities with no permanent emergency beds for couples and fewer than two dozen for women.

The LVHN street medicine program, which he founded, takes care of about 1,500 people a year. Since 2015, it has pursued its mission relentlessly, taking laptops into the woods to get homeless patients insured, usually through medicaid; today, 74 percent have coverage. Over the same period, emergency room visits by the program’s patients have fallen by about three-quarters and admissions by roughly two-thirds.

It has taken feldman years to get to this point. In high school, he began lifting weights after getting into a car accident and fracturing three vertebrae.Online housing benefit form in 2000, as a freshman at pennsylvania state university, he won the national physique committee teen championship.

His close collaborator is his wife, corinne feldman, a physician assistant who is an assistant professor at desales university. When they first moved to the lehigh valley in 2005, the couple wanted to work with the homeless but couldn’t find them — until realizing they were in campsites in the woods. These days, one encampment is even in the shadow of a defunct bethlehem steel facility.

The feldmans started by setting up free clinics in shelters where they worked without pay. But a 2013 boston conference on street medicine sharpened their focus. They would go to wherever the homeless were.

By then a physician assistant at lehigh valley hospital, brett feldman got a grant from a local philanthropy, the dorothy rider pool health care trust, that allowed him to do street medicine one day a week.Online housing benefit form over time, he received more grants, as well as backing from the health system to set up a full-time street medicine program. It launched in 2014.

There have been numerous disappointments and heartbreaks: two patients at an encampment in bethlehem froze to death. A man with third-degree burns from sleeping on a heating vent fled rather than have his badly infected lower leg amputated. And before the psychiatrist could come out, duckie disappeared.

At the same time, there have been poignant victories. When a 50-year-old man, living in a drainage pipe, was given a diagnosis of advanced colon cancer, he declined treatment but eventually was able to move into an apartment, where the street-medicine team provided him palliative care. When his symptoms worsened and feldman said it was time to go to hospice, the man replied, first, I have to clean up the apartment because the landlord was so nice.Online housing benefit form