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A scoping review of surgical care for people experiencing homelessness: prevalence, access, and disparities.

BACKGROUND: Numerous studies have highlighted the inequitable access to medical and psychiatric care that people experiencing homelessness (PEH) face, yet the surgical needs of this population are not well understood. We sought to assess evidence describing surgical care for PEH and to perform a thematic analysis of the results.

METHODS: Ovid MEDLINE, Embase, and Web of Science were searched using the terms "surgery" AND "homelessness." Grey literature was also searched. We used a stepwise scoping review methodology, followed by thematic analysis using an inductive approach.

RESULTS: We included 104 articles in our review. Studies were included from 5 continents; 63% originated in the United States. All surgical specialties were represented with varying surgical conditions and procedures for each. Orthopedic surgery (21%) was the most frequently reported specialty. Themes identified included characteristics of PEH receiving surgical care, homeless-to-housed participants, interaction with the health care system, educational initiatives, barriers and challenges, and interventions and future strategies.

CONCLUSION: We identified significant variation and gaps, representing opportunities for further research and interventions. Further addressing the barriers and challenges that PEH face when accessing surgical care can better address the needs of this population.

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