Saturday, Oct. 21
10:45 – 11:45 (1 hr)
Meeting Room: Orca (3rd floor – B Tower)
Deborah Pink*, MD, FRCPC; Michaela Beder, MD, FRCPC
- Health Advocate
- Medical Expert
At the end of this session, participants will be able to: 1) Understand the complexity of homelessness and the various models of care that serve this population; 2) Understand the intersection between homelessness and health; and 3) Gain skills related to providing health care to people experiencing homelessness including street homelessness.
Homelessness impacts over 235,000 in Canada every year. In our difficult economic times, and especially in light of the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are many paths to homelessness. For some people, job loss leads to loss of homes, while for others mental illness and substance use, coupled with insufficient access to care and social supports, leads to years on the streets, in shelters, and in and out of jails.
Psychiatrists often encounter people who are homeless in emergency and inpatient settings, but there is an increasing number of clinicians who work in settings with people during episodes of homelessness. These psychiatrists have developed a clinical approach and an understanding of larger systems issues and health inequities, and they have a unique perspective on how to best provide treatment and services for people experiencing homelessness and who struggle to access psychiatric and medical care in traditional settings. In this interactive workshop, two psychiatrists working with innovative organizations will provide an overview of evidence-based practices in homelessness mental health care, as well as pearls from their clinical experience.
Access to mental health care remains challenging for many people who are homeless, disconnected from supports, and struggling with psychosis and (or) substance use, the effects of trauma, and cognitive challenges. Using an interactive case, we will discuss how to enhance health equity for clients who are experiencing homelessness, including a review of clinical pearls, evidence-based practices, models of care, ways of increasing access, and pharmacologic management.
- Guan I, Kirwan N, Beder M, et al. Adaptations and innovations to minimize service disruption for patients with severe mental illness during COVID-19: perspectives and reflections from an assertive community psychiatry program. Community Ment Health J 2021;57(1):10–17.
- Health Care for the Homeless Clinicians’ Network [Internet]. Nashville (TN): Author [cited 2021 Sept 12]. Available from: https://www.nhchc.org/resources/clinical/adapted-clinical-guidelines/