Essay on Barriers to Healthcare for the Homeless Population

1432 Words May 12th, 2011 6 Pages
Barriers to Healthcare for the Homeless Population
Dana Duggan
University of Phoenix

Sheila De Vaugh, APRN, BC
August 3, 2009

Introduction A homeless person is defined as someone “who lacks a fixed, regular adequate night time residence or a person who resides in a shelter, welfare hotel, transitional program or place not ordinarily used as regular sleeping accommodations, such as streets, movie theaters, cars, abandoned buildings, etc.” (Cone, 2008, p. ). Homelessness is a growing problem in the United States that affects the psychological and physical aspects of its victims. Two of the fastest growing subpopulations of the homeless are single mothers and families. The word homeless implies being extremely vulnerable and
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The homeless population will only increase with our current economic status. Jean Watson’s Theory of Caring states that “intentionality is the projection of awareness, with purpose and efficacy toward some object or outcome” (Leuning, 2001, p. 300). Healthcare organizations and nurses need to collaborate using intentionality. The vulnerability status of the homeless is higher than most due to their lack of basic human needs of food, water, and shelter. The homeless population succumbs to a variety of chronic illnesses and disease, such as tuberculosis, AIDS/HIV, malnutrition and severe dental problems. They also fall prey to parasites, frostbite, infection and violence (Basics of Homelessness, 2002). These reasons alone prove that the homeless population needs to receive specialized care designed around their lifestyles. As one can see, this population is not going away and the problem will only continue to grow. It is up to nurses and other healthcare professionals to advocate for these individuals and help make a change by using specialized assessment tools and learning more about programs specifically for the homeless By ensuring that these individuals receive the proper follow up care through a collaborative effort of nurses, doctors, social workers, case managers, and psychiatric professionals, there will be a
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