Discharge of Homeless Pediatric Patient

  1. I'm a student nurse, and a patient I worked through my volunteering at the children's hospital got me thinking about this...

    What guidelines does your hospital use for discharging unaccompanied homeless youth (under 18)? Does the presence of psychiatric conditions change the guidelines?

    I don't know what my hospital does, and figured it probably (HIIPA) wouldn't be a good idea to ask....

    Thanks!
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   Jolie
    Is the patient an emancipated minor? If not, I would think that there would have to be some "adult figure" (parent, family member, DFS representative) taking responsibility for getting the patient to a safe setting post-discharge.
  4. by   LiveZen
    I wish I knew more facts of the situation. There were no parents with the patient at the time, so I'm not sure whose charge he would be under. He was 15 years old.

    Would CPS or DFS get involved if the youth really was living on the street without an adult?

    I'm just getting started with nursing school, and I'm really interested in how homeless populations are affected in healthcare.

    Thanks for your response!
  5. by   traumaRUs
    In IL where I live, a person can obtain mental health care (and sign consent for it) at the age of 12!. They also have to sign to allow their parents access to their care plan. So...it is possible that this 15 y/o sought help for mental illness or substance abuse and actually does live on his own.

    This state stinks in that mental health still has the stigma of being untouchable. Sorry for the personal rant - this is just too close to home for me.

    To the OP if you live in IL - I'd be glad to provide some links and/or possibilities for social service intervention. I live near Peoria, IL.
  6. by   LiveZen
    Wow! That information is very surprising. I'm in Ohio, not sure what the laws are around here. I'll have to look into it.

    This may sound silly, but this is why I thought he might be homeless with psychological problems. It is really hot in OH right now (we're talking high 80's and super humid!) and he was dressed in a very inappropriate outfit...old suit pants, with a tank top undershirt and an old suit coat. Definitely not something most people would be wearing. He was alone and had no personal items at all in the room.

    Also, he looked as if he had gotten into some sort of fight. I was running the "movie cart" (where the kiddos can rent free DVDs) and he said he wasn't allowed to have movies. I checked with the nurses, they debated it for a couple minutes because he "wasn't on contract, so they weren't sure" and eventually said yes.

    Is this just me imagining a story or is this good observation?
  7. by   vaughanmk
    I couldn't imagine that the hospital would discharge a child to the street. Someone, somewhere along the way should address that. It is sad that children actually have to live that life. I wish there was more that could reasonably be done to help them.
  8. by   Kidrn911
    Quote from traumaRUs
    In IL where I live, a person can obtain mental health care (and sign consent for it) at the age of 12!. They also have to sign to allow their parents access to their care plan. So...it is possible that this 15 y/o sought help for mental illness or substance abuse and actually does live on his own.

    This state stinks in that mental health still has the stigma of being untouchable. Sorry for the personal rant - this is just too close to home for me.

    To the OP if you live in IL - I'd be glad to provide some links and/or possibilities for social service intervention. I live near Peoria, IL.
    That may be the case but at the Peds hospital I work at in chicago, we never allow a child sign for discharge unless they are 18
  9. by   lpnstudentin2010
    where I am a patient, parent or guardian needs to be there for under 18, and they really prefer some other adult when over. You HAVE to be discharged to a private vehicle, or taxi, you can not be going on the pubic transportation system

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