In the Twin Cities metro area over 4,000 youth and adults are in temporary
housing programs and over 600 are unsheltered. Homeless individuals
experience a greater risk of death and more barriers to healthcare than any other
disadvantaged population. As a result of barriers to regular healthcare, homeless
individuals are hospitalized and admitted to the emergency room at four times the
rate of the general population. Few other studies have looked at the content of
advance directives and no other study has looked at what the homeless write in
their advance directives. A qualitative study of 73 advance directives of homeless
individuals from Minneapolis showed evidence against many misconceptions
people may have regarding the homeless: The majority of people named a family
member as their healthcare agent and discussed family throughout their living will.
Many of the homeless individuals discussed specific healthcare goals and were
eager to improve or maintain their health. Many of the people wrote about specific
accomplishments when asked what they were most proud of and wanted to be
remembered for their personal traits, such as being good, kind or helpful.
Additional contributors: John Song; Dianne Bartels; Edward Ratner (faculty mentors).
Homelessness and End of Life Care: Analysis of the Living Wills of Homeless Individuals.
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