Statistics and the impact of homeless women on women’s health mn576 essay

Homeless Women

Women play an integral role in society and are essentially the backbone to most families. Caring out the duty as the care giver, nurturer, companion, mother and wife, women have a large role to take on. Unfortunately, things occur like poverty, abuse, low paying jobs, lack of access to healthcare and family planning causing these women and their families to resort to a shelter to prevent living in their car or the woods. According to &&&& the majority of homeless people are simply ordinary families who have fallen on difficult times, forced into homelessness, resulting in resuming their normal daily activities out of a shelter.  Homelessness especially in women is a growing unfortunate issue in the United States.  Homelessness is defined as not having an adequate, regular, nighttime residence (**). According to ** women and families are the fastest growing homeless population to date. Homelessness patient are seen every day in hospitals throughout the United States making these patients more vulnerable to developing health problems and increased barriers to care in the community. Homeless women are unlikely to receive medical attention when needed due to  poverty, limited social support, low literacy, fragmented systems, mode of transportation, lack of funds,  and more than likely have suffered from mental health issues, substance abuse, victimization, sexual abuse and homeless histories. Statistics and the impact of homeless women on women’s health mn576 essay.

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I chose homeless women as my vulnerable population because I feel there is a lack of awareness with this population. As of 2017, 554,000 people were homeless and 88% of those were females (**).There needs to be more awareness about homeless women because not only is it them, it’s usually their kids they have with them and our involved with this disparity. These patients need reliable care, regular source of health care and social support. Homelessness erodes human spirits and wellbeing causing individuals to become entrapped in feelings of diminished self- worth and hopelessness. Statistics and the impact of homeless women on women’s health mn576 essay.

Statistics and the impact of homeless women on women’s health.

Currently, women are the fastest growing population of the homeless community. *4 % of homeless people are women, and 53% of those homeless women are mothers without a high school education (**). As for Florida, 32,190 people were homeless in 2017 and 2,846 of those were women with children (**).

Lack of access to appropriate health care in homeless women impact women’s health in more ways than other including mental, maternal, prenatal, and preventive Statistics and the impact of homeless women on women’s health mn576 essay. Homeless women are at an increasing risk of poor health outcomes and are less likely to access health care including routine visits or preventive care like mammograms, pap smears, prenatal care, appropriate ambulatory care, and specialty care which can cause further issues down the road. Menstruation occurs every month and access to menstruation products is often limited in homeless women therefore, women who are homeless are more prone to infections caused by unsanitary pads and care during that time. Missing annual pap smears or not having access to health care when a patient may have a sexually transmitted disease (STI) can impact women’s health by causing the patient to potentially infect other people, increase their risk for HIV, increase risk for infertility, and or may become severely systemic leading to death. Statistics and the impact of homeless women on women’s health mn576 essay.

Another impact is access to comprehensive maternal health care can be difficult for homeless women and because of that lack of prenatal care and or unintended pregnancies are higher among homeless women and should be taken into consideration as an impact on women’s health. Prenatal care is not only vital for the baby but also the mother’s wellbeing as it heightens the risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes which can be linked to poor physical health and unmet healthcare needs (**). The path to motherhood is expensive for every mom therefore being homeless only puts more strains and stress on mother causing them to miss out on doctor’s appointment and medications. Missing out on prenatal care can also lead to premature babies, low gestational weight, neural tube defects from lack of folic acid and unforeseen complications during labor. Statistics and the impact of homeless women on women’s health mn576 essay.  Women also lack access to care for chronic illnesses that may include hypertension, asthma, anemia, or hyperlipidemia leading to cardiovascular conditions. Not only do these patients physical health need to be monitored, but these patients need to be screened and monitored for psychosocial needs like depression, emotional support, anxiety, and low socio economic status.

 Psychosocial Needs

Psychosocial needs are essentially meeting the needs of an individual’s mental health and social well-being. Evaluating the patient’s mental health, functional ability, cognition/ knowledge, developmental history, social history, suicidal ideations, drug/ alcohol history, and family history are all vital. Homelessness unfortunately affects ones psychosocial well-being and ultimately effects their ability to cope with adversity on a daily basis. Major mental health ailments like depression, anxiety, suicide, schizophrenia are all among the homeless population. Ultimately analyzing the psychosocial needs in this population helps assess the perception of self and the individual’s ability to function in the community. Specifically for the women homeless community, some important psychosocial needs that would need to be analyzed are emotional and mental needs, self- respect, feelings of worthlessness and lack of control over one’s life.  Severe mental illnesses are found among the homeless people especially women not being able to cope with the reality of being homeless. Analyzing these patients and making sure they are coping with their living situation, socio economical status, adjusting to these changes in their lives. Women go through hormonal changes including menopause so assessing depression is vital. Research has proven that suicide and self-harm are prevailing among the homeless population which makes evaluating depression levels and making sure there are no suicidal ideations vital. According to ** Greater than one in four people (26.8%) had considered suicide in the past year. 7.8% had actually attempted suicide in the same period.  Ensuring these patients remain hopeful and optimistic about their future and moving on from being homeless. Statistics and the impact of homeless women on women’s health mn576 essay.

Guilt is an appropriate psychosocial need to analyze, especially if a mother has taken her children and left the father because the relationship was abusive. Making sure these homeless patients still meet their basic needs in order to cope with daily living including emotional and well- being. Evaluating their anxiety level goes with mental status. According to *** deterioration of physical health is closely linked to the psychosocial wellbeing.

Culturally competent care delivery

Homelessness poses many clinical challenges to healthcare providers who provide health services to this population including delivering culturally competent care. As a healthcare provider, it is critical that we are culturally sensitive to our patient but especially to homeless patients and respect their diversity. Being cultural competent applies to knowledge about the population, attitude, and the skills needed to provide the competent care (**).  Unfortunately, when socio-economic status differs from the people we serve its imperative that we learn and take into considerations the challenges they may endure and face living in poverty and being homeless. By being culturally sensitive, it allows us as healthcare providers to build safety and establish the tone for open dialogue. Statistics and the impact of homeless women on women’s health mn576 essay. 

Culturally and ethically competent care methods

Every healthcare provider has the ability to improve delivering culturally and ethically competent care. It all begins with determining our own strengths and weaknesses in being culturally competent.  As a healthcare provider, some different methods I would use would include not unintentionally stereotyping the patients, labeling the patients, or making assumptions or judgement on these patients. Research and collect relevant cultural data about homelessness, poverty, low literacy and socio economical status would be done prior to delivering care to this population. Taking my time explaining care to these patients avoiding the use of medical terminology and more jargon. Becoming more aware of the different resources in the community which may be beneficial to the patient and seek to understand the social factors that might affect the individual’s health and why they are in this predicament. Statistics and the impact of homeless women on women’s health mn576 essay.

Conclusion

Homelessness in America is a growing epidemic that unfortunately affects the lives of many people including women. People seem to think when people are homeless it just affects them not having a steady to sleep at night, but that is not the case. Homelessness in women affect their psychosocial needs, healthcare needs, prenatal needs, and postpartum needs making them at higher risk of injury and illness and less likely to get appropriate  health care they need . As health care providers that we take the time and care for this vulnerable female population, understand and prevent the risk these patients pose on their health by being homeless all while delivering culturally competent care. Statistics and the impact of homeless women on women’s health mn576 essay.

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