Health Teaching Project: Pre-Implementation Report
This mental health clinical practice has afforded the unique experience of working with the homeless population of Portland at Rose Haven. Rose Haven is an intervention center that provides aid to homeless and at risk women and children. This facility opens its doors four days a week from 9am to 12pm providing a safe atmosphere to build community. During these hours guests are able to have a meal, acquire new clothes and hygiene items, use the phone or simply relax in a safe place. Upon their first visit, a guest will meet with a staff advocate. These advocates provide informal counseling and referral services to help navigate the social services available in Portland. Guests of Rose Haven come from many different backgrounds and have a multitude of different issues. Some of the women have mental health issues, and some so not. The staff attempts to meet these needs in order to promote self-sufficiency and a sense of dignity in their guests.
As a nursing student our role is to interact therapeutically with guests and collaborate with staff to help meet the guest’s needs. From collaborating with staff and guests the need for health education was revealed. To meet this need several health-teaching projects have been developed to educate the women on how to better care for themselves. Recently the weather has become more cold and wet, which is characteristic of winter months in Portland. Many individuals find in challenging to stay healthy during this time, especially the homeless. Three significant techniques on how to stay healthy during the winter will be discussed including effective hand washing, coughing and sneezing etiquette and how to properly dress for cold weather. This report will discuss the rationale for this project based on the needs of the population and demonstrate how the teaching outcomes will be met. Collaboration with Staff
Rose Haven has a small staff of five employees who are supported by volunteers. This creates a highly collaborative environment and the opportunity to work closely with all staff members. While working at the facility the volunteers that serve food stated that they usually do not see women washing their hands before they eat. They agreed that a demonstration on hand washing would be beneficial. The volunteer who operates the store stated that many of the women do not know how to dress for cold weather so she encourages them to choose warm clothes during the winter months. The volunteer coordinator (E) had many ideas and was integral in developing this project. Upon arrival she provided an oriented to the facility and briefly described the population. After more one on one interaction with Rose Haven guests individual impressions of the population were discussed, which lead to a discussion on health care needs and how to meet this need through education. E stated that many women are sick during the winter for long periods of time. They are not aware of prevention methods, able to effectively treat their cold and are unclear on when or how to seek out professional medical care. It was agreed that a project on common cold/flu prevention would be beneficial. The staff established the need for some kind of incentive to motivate guests to participate. Collaboration with Clients
After observing and interacting with Rose Haven guests for four weeks it is evident that there is a need for education on cold prevention. No women were observed washing their hands before eating. On a rainy morning many women were observed without any rain protection and wet feet because of inappropriate shoes. Runny noses, coughing and sneezing was frequently observed with little coughing and sneezing etiquette. The women often sneezed and coughed into their hand or the air. A guest stated that since she has been homeless she gets a cold every...