Publication Date

5-2019

Degree Type

Doctoral Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

Department

Nursing

First Advisor

Kathleen Rindahl

Second Advisor

Tegest Hailu

Third Advisor

Robert Mitchell

Keywords

Homeless, healthcare, vulnerable

Abstract

Homelessness is a societal dilemma that affects people in the United States and around the globe. Homelessness relates to poor health conditions that affect the living conditions of individuals (Institute for Urban Initiatives, 2018). Chronic and acute illnesses are rampant in this group, most of these illnesses are treatable but accessing healthcare poses a challenge for this vulnerable population. Homeless persons are often unable to access healthcare due to fear and denial of ill health, difficulty in communicating health needs, and low self-esteem (Lamb & Joels, 2014).

In the study, questionnaires were administered to 25 homeless individuals through random sampling. From the study, homelessness is still a big problem in Merced County with a substantial impact and distresses on a considerable number of individuals. Healthcare systems should find ways to help homeless individuals improve access to better medical services, acquire insurance coverage, and live hygienically by observing every aspect of healthy living. Although the healthcare system has tried to meet the individual’s needs, satisfactory levels are low.

A long-term solution like housing facilities for the homeless population is the best way to tackle this threat. Permanent housing will remove the individuals from the streets which will, in turn, avoid their health vulnerabilities. It is worth noting that harsh environmental conditions like cold and psychological fear encourages the homeless individuals to use drugs that make them numb to the reality.

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