On the basis of our experience in homeless care we state that most of our clients are psychologically injured. They attempt to escape hopelessness by means such as alcohol and drugs – which lead them to psychic and mental damage. The drastic reduction of beds in hospital psychiatric wards and the lack of aftercare predispose patients toward homelessness. According to our observations most of the homeless are alcohol-dependent and at least 30% show physical (hepatopathia alc., polyneuropathia alc.,) and mental (personopathia, delirium, praedelirium, atrophya cerebri, -cerebelli) symptoms. These people represent the most defenseless circle of the “homeless society” regardless of the origin of their mental deformation.
Early in our organization of homeless health provision we ascertained the want for greater attention to the needs of these people. They require greater protection and care whether or not their rehabilitation is possible because of their special needs. We have considerable knowledge in homeless care having built a hospital and outpatient center with an experienced staff of professionals. We studied effective foreign programs of homeless care and we ourselves have developed creditable innovative methods however insufficient state financing and lack of money is a serious obstacle in realizing them. In our 30-bed hospital 40% of the patients were determined to be part of this endangered circle. In spite of the limited means both their physical and mental care are addressed with the help of our eminent colleague Dr. István Samu a psychiatrist of long and successful experience. In 2003 we were able to take special care of 21 such persons. We then formed a new department with the help of contributed financial aid for that purpose.
The medical background of the institute comes from the hospital-outpatient center in Dankó street 9. Therapeutic activities have been held in the hospital for many years and with good results. These 21 patients now receive the same therapeutic care.
In Györköny (Tolna County), in our addiction-rehabilitation department – jointly operated with Kék Kereszt (Blue Cross Association) – we are able to provide further possibilities for their education/training plans. We anticipate that the ability of our homeless psychiatric patients for independent conduct can be developed to a point where their vulnerability and defenselessness is decreased and with limited help and oversight their self-sustaining prospect can be increased.
The institution has its own social worker to help the administration of the patients and assist in maintaining their relationship with family and society.
Serious improvement is to be expected – even after as little as two years of conscientious therapy given the termination of the offending agents (alcohol, drugs, etc.). Since the prolonged or permanent accommodation of psychiatric patients is not resolved (7 years of queuing) without such care the only chance for their survival is this sort of special care. The ward is continuously filled. Three meals a day are ensured. The patients’ health condition and its treatment are established on arrival. Their medical observation and care is uninterrupted. They take part in handicraft, remedial and group activities weekly and since September a physiotherapist assists in their therapy. We also organize cultural programs and excursions with therapeutic purpose.