Health status, diseases and vaccinations of the homeless in the city of Palermo, Italy

Alberto Firenze, Omar Enzo Santangelo, Vincenza Gianfredi, Daniele Domenico Raia, Sandro Provenzano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction. In Italy, as in the rest of the world, the number of homeless people is increasing considerably. Many of them suffer from chronic conditions, mental health problems and addiction to alcohol, drugs or smoking, and need complex medical care. Their health status is often exacerbated by greater difficulty in accessing primary care. The aim of the present study was to assess health conditions of homeless people living in Palermo, Southern Italy, and to find ways to limit the spread of common infectious diseases that can be prevented by vaccination. Materials and Methods. A self-administered questionnaire was distributed. The questionnaire was structured into two parts including an introduction with socio-demographic information, and a second part investigating health status, chronic diseases and vaccinations. A multivariable logistic regression model was used and adjusted Odds Ratios (aOR) are presented. Results. The sample consisted of 52 homeless, 35 (67.3%) of whom were male and the most represented age class (55.8%) was < 50 years of age. The average age of the sample was 49.6 years (SD ± 15.2) and 88.5% were born in Italy. A multivariable logistic regression model based on 52 observations was used. The analysis showed that the female gender was significantly associated with: not performing regular physical activity (aOR 4.14, 95% C.I. 1.20 - 14.32, p = 0.025), suffering from chronic diseases (aOR 3.52, 95% C.I. 1.02 - 12.11, p = 0.046) and taking medicines (aOR 3.95, 95% C.I. 1.14 - 13.64, p = 0.030). Conclusions. This particularly fragile population is exposed to diseases that are largely preventable or curable through a wider and more early access to care by local health facilities with a subsequent reduction in the worsening of clinical outcomes and related social costs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-34
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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