Cold, starvation, disease, lack of mobility, and lack of medical care are the primary healthcare issues faced by the poor and the homeless in the USA. According to the national census, the number of partially or completely homeless people in the country ranges between 2.5 and 3.5 million, out of which nearly 50% are children (Asche, Seal, Kahler, Oehrlein, & Baumgartner, 2017). Although the majority of the communities in the USA have a relatively high economic and social standing, healthcare issues associated with homelessness are often neglected.
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The locality reviewed in the scope of this paper is Miami Lakes. According to the statistics, this locality accounts for 34-50 homeless individuals, which is more than 30% of homeless people in the entire Miami-Dade County (Asche et al., 2017). Social and healthcare centers in the area are responsible for watching over this vulnerable population. The purpose of this intervention is to provide the homeless persons found in Miami Lakes with information about shelters, healthcare centers, and basic hygiene techniques they could use to maintain a healthy body and mind during the transition period.
The community of Miami Lakes is located in Miami-Dade County. It is a fairly populous area with a developed social and economic network. The population is heterogeneous, presented by individuals from various racial backgrounds, such as European-Americans, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Latin Americans. The demographic situation is stable, and a good percentage of the population is young. Unemployment is slightly below the state average.
The population of the community appears to be healthy. The majority of the individuals observed during the windshield survey wore new and tidy clothes, with only a few individuals wearing ragged and tattered outfits. Most of the people seen outside were not overweight or thin. Obesity does not seem to be a very prevalent healthcare issue in the area. The community enjoys its leisure time in parks and recreational areas. Some practice sports. All major confessions are present in the area, and the population enjoys a healthy spiritual life.
There are plenty of health services available to the individuals in the area. There are 7 hospitals, 5 community clinics, numerous dentist offices and pharmacies, one urgent care clinic, and one family planning center. However, the community does not appear to have a dedicated homeless shelter, nor mental health or substance abuse clinics. Thus, health services provided by nurses include primary care, secondary care, and urgent care. However, nursing duties also include social work, advocacy, and the promotion of healthcare through preventive and educational means.
Health Promotion Nursing Intervention
As it is possible to see from the windshield analysis, the presence of social housing and support for homeless individuals is extremely slim and hard to find. In situations where there are no dedicated personnel and facilities to conduct social work and provide social healthcare interventions, it becomes the duty of the nurses to do so, to maintain a standard of health in the community (Nies & McEwen, 2014).
Poor and homeless populations are exposed to various health hazards. The elements present one of the primary threats to the homeless, especially during the cold seasons. Freezing and contracting diseases are much more likely to happen during autumn, winter, and early spring. However, it is also possible to become sick in the summer due to the contrast between temperatures. Homeless and poor individuals often suffer from malnourishment and poor nutrition as well as health issues associated with unhealthy eating habits (Nies & McEwen, 2014). Lastly, research indicates that many individuals do not receive help from social services because they are not informed.
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Based on these findings, there are several ways in which nurses could help improve the healthcare situation for poor and homeless individuals. The proposed intervention will focus on the following (Byrne, Lennox, & Ware, 2015):
- Providing information about social services available in the area.
- Distributing pamphlets and information booklets about personal hygiene and various health hazards associated with poverty and homelessness.
- Providing access to various medicaments mandated by the government, such as vaccines.
Professional Nursing Organization
The organizations that could be used to provide the aforementioned services and conduct the intervention are social organizations, primary healthcare facilities, and hospitals. Information and prevention campaigns do not require specialized skills, advanced equipment, or public spaces to reach out to poor and homeless individuals (Nies & McEwen, 2014). As it was already mentioned, Miami Lakes has seven major hospitals in its vicinity. These hospitals could support the intervention.
Nurse professionals would be required to print and distribute various pamphlets indicating the fastest routes towards various social and healthcare centers available to the poor and the homeless individuals in the area. Informational brochures should contain simple rules on how to maintain standards of personal hygiene using modest amounts of resources. They should also warn about the hazards of malnutrition and unbalanced diets, as obesity is widespread among poor families (Nies & McEwen, 2014). Lastly, the hospital would be required to provide a facility for free vaccination of vulnerable populations.
Miami Lakes is a wealthy community with a largely healthy population and a great number of healthcare facilities located in the area. However, it does not have many dedicated social homes or clinical facilities for poor people. The local hospitals could undertake an effort to inform the poor and homeless populations within the community about the options open to them and provide information and healthcare assistance to those in need. These measures would help improve the overall healthcare status in the community.
Asche, C. V., Seal, B., Kahler, K. H., Oehrlein, E. M., & Baumgartner, M. G. (2017). Evaluation of healthcare interventions and big data: Review of associated data issues. PharmacoEconomics, 35(8), 759-765.
Byrne, J. H., Lennox, N. G., & Ware, R. S. (2015). Systematic review and meta-analysis of primary healthcare interventions on health actions in people with intellectual disability. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 41(1), 66-74.
Nies, M. A., & McEwen, M. (2014). Community/Public health nursing: Promoting the health of populations (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.