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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”



Homeless Women and Children's Access to Health Care: A Paradox

Journal of Community Health Nursing, Volume 18, Number 1 (March 1, 2001)

Diane C. Hatton, Dorothy Kleffel, Susan Bennett, Elizabeth A. Nancy Gaffrey

* Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, University of San Diego, † Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, University of San Diego, ‡ Cable Street Family Practice, San Diego, CA, § San Diego County Office of Education, San Diego, CA

Homeless women and children who reside in shelters experience many health-related problems. The aim of the qualitative study reported here was to (a) explore how shelter staffs manage health problems among their residents and assist them in accessing health services, and (b) identify clinical strategies for community health nurses working with this population. Findings demonstrate a paradox whereby homeless shelter staffs try to gain access to care for their residents through a system that is designed to keep them out. In addition, findings indicate a need for increased community health nursing services in homeless shelters. Strategies for resolving this paradox include providing assessment, policy development, and assurance of health care for homeless women and children.