Health-Seeking Challenges Among Homeless Youth

School of Nursing, University of California, Los Angeles, USA.
Nursing research (Impact Factor: 1.36). 05/2010; 59(3):212-8. DOI: 10.1097/NNR.0b013e3181d1a8a9
Source: PubMed


Approximately 1.5 to 2 million homeless young persons live on the streets in the United States. With the current economic situation, research is needed on quality of services geared toward homeless young adults.
The objective of this study was to explore homeless young adults' perspectives on barriers and facilitators of health-care-seeking behavior and their perspectives on improving existing programs for homeless persons.
This article is a descriptive qualitative study using focus groups, with a purposeful sample of 24 homeless drug-using young adults.
Identified themes were failing access to care based on perceived structural barriers (limited clinic sites, limited hours of operation, priority health conditions, and long wait times) and social barriers (perception of discrimination by uncaring professionals, law enforcement, and society in general).
Results provide insight into programmatic and agency resources that facilitate health-seeking behaviors among homeless young adults and include implications for more research with providers of homeless health and social services.

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    • "Address correspondence to Alicia J. Hauff, DNP, FNP-BC, Family HealthCare, 301 NP Avenue, Fargo, ND 58102. E-mail: of trust in providers, and cultural insensitivity (Christiani, Hudson, Nyamathi, Mutere, & Sweat, 2008; Hudson et al., 2009; Hwang et al., 2010; Roche, 2004). Barriers to health care access lead to worsened health status, and homeless persons tend to prioritize the fulfillment of more basic needs such as shelter and food before seeking health care services (Martins, 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: The effects of homelessness on health are well documented, although less is known about the challenges of health care delivery from the perspective of service providers. Using data from a larger health needs assessment, the purpose of this study was to describe homeless health care needs and barriers to access utilizing qualitative data collected from shelter staff (n = 10) and health service staff (n = 14). Shelter staff members described many unmet health needs and barriers to health care access, and discussed needs for other supportive services in the area. Health service providers also described multiple health and service needs, and the need for a recuperative care setting for this population. Although a variety of resources are currently available for homeless health service delivery, barriers to access and gaps in care still exist. Recommendations for program planning are discussed and examined in the context of contributing factors and health care reform.
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    • "(Sutherland, Leader Post, August 2011) Street involved youth (SIY) have become a phenomenon, both locally and globally, replete with labels, little understanding, and poorly constructed solutions; hence, an inexact, intractable situation is in play. This population is ill defined, which contributes to a lack of national and global data, including the absence of systematic measures for youth homelessness and, by extension, SIY [1]. Estimating the numbers of SIY, although a necessity, is a challenge due to ambiguity in definitions, inconsistent service use by SIY, and a lack of intentionality to enumerate these individuals. "
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    ABSTRACT: Street Involved Youth (SIY) are part of a diverse, complex, and heterogeneous group which is underestimated, under resourced, and often ignored in programs and planning for health and social wellness. As the numbers of SIY continue to grow, so do the issues and challenges related to the roles of nursing in working with this vulnerable population. Study Intent: The goal was to engage SIY to gather, share, and exchange information (learnings + voice) about experiences, lifestyles, needs, opportunities, and strengths of SIY from their perspectives; and to inform programs/services, policies, and interventions to achieve preferred futures. Method: The project used a qualitative community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach with an arts-based method – specifically music. Results: Two thematic groups with sub-themes were derived. The first thematic grouping is LOCATION which had four sub-themes -'Individual Orientation'; 'Collective (Culture/Sub-culture) Orientation'; 'Behavioral Orientation'; and 'Time Orientation'. The second thematic group is DIRECTION with three sub-themes -'Path of Disempowerment'; 'Path of Empowerment'; and 'Shifting Paths'. Study Limitations: This study was conducted in partnership with a single SIY agency in a relatively small urban setting in Canada. Conclusions: In working with SIY, it is imperative to 'meet them where they are' with research methods that are innovative and engaging. In this study, the use of music as an arts-based method was found to be highly suitable, efficient, and mutually beneficial.
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