Danish welfare is often hailed as one of the best in the world; the country has a reputation for looking after its own – especially the vulnerable.
As far as the authorities are concerned, they are ‘socially vulnerable’, not just homeless – even if the definition identifies a person who is a regular user of shelters, hostels, nursing homes, greenhouses, night cafes and housing facilities.
It is a sign of respect and indication of how much they invest in their well-being.
So it is with great pleasure that since 2009 the Danish system has been able to celebrate a seven-year jump in the expected life expectancy of a ‘socially vulnerable’ person, from 57 to 64 years, according to figures from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
Catching up, but still some way to go
Nevertheless, life expectancy is still 17 years lower than the age the general population can hope to live to: 81 – an increase of two years since 2009.
“It suggests that someone is doing something right, but it’s still an insanely large difference in life expectancy,” says Kira West, president of the Council for the Socially Disadvantaged, the Council for the Socially Disadvantaged. to DR.
West argues that ‘socially vulnerable’ people need better access to healthcare, as they tend to be admitted to hospital only when they have become extremely ill – and often it can be too late to save them.
“The socially disadvantaged die of diseases that the rest of us can easily live with or be cured of,” she said.
Several initiatives: both local and drug-related
One area where authorities have seen a lot of progress is protecting vulnerable people from dying prematurely from drug overdoses.
Since the introduction of mobile drug injection rooms (‘fixer rooms’) just over ten years ago, deaths are rarely heard of. A sample taken in Copenhagen, Odense and Aarhus between 2012 and 2015 showed 301 overdoses, but not a single death.
In the meantime, many hospitals are working on their own initiatives to help socially disadvantaged people in their catchment area.
For example, Bispebjerg Hospital opened a flexible clinic in January that accepts patients who do not have a general practitioner or MitID.
READ MORE: Free up a room for the homeless young people in Copenhagen
Source: The Nordic Page