Homeless patients may have both specific and nonspecific medical complaints.8 Once the primary reason for the visit is addressed, a thorough examination of the entire body, including the skin and particularly the feet, should be considered. This is especially necessary for the homeless patient who presents disheveled, intoxicated, or with a significant psychosis. A valuable medical history may include the last evaluation for tuberculosis exposure, tetanus immunization status, vaccination status in children, psychiatric history, history of chemical dependence, and potential for substance withdrawal while receiving care in the emergency department. A social history may include family support, precipitants of homelessness, and prior contact with a social worker.
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