The experience of an affiliation between a hospital-based clinic and a family shelter is presented. The medical implications of family shelter residence include special issues related to the spread of infectious diseases, particularly to the neonate. Preentry medical evaluation revealed that a large proportion of children and their parents had one or more medical problems. Of 67 children screened before entrance, 3% had Giardia lamblia detected in the stool. In addition to carriage of enteric pathogens, the range of pediatric problems encountered included a variety of acute and chronic medical conditions, unmet primary care needs, and developmental and school difficulties. Fifty-eight percent of shelter residents were found to be "medically homeless." Formal liaison between a hospital-based clinic and a family shelter was found to be an effective way to promote a healthy environment in the family shelter and to provide needed medical services to shelter families.

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