Homelessness and Healthcare of Children

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NURSING ISSUES AND HOMELESS YOUTH
PRESENTED BY MICHELLE ALLEN AND LORI UMENHOFER

I. Research and Awareness
A. Homeless youth face the same issues faced by children in the general population, but their issues are exacerbated by the circumstances inherent to their homeless status. B. As touched upon in the skit, some of the health care issues especially prevalent in the homeless youth population are psychosocial issues, nutrition issues, communicable diseases, dermatological disorders, respiratory disorders, dental health issues, sexual health issues, substance abuse issues, and issues related to medication adherence.

II. Psychosocial Issues
A. Multiple studies have identified the adverse effects of homelessness on children’s psychosocial health. 1. Kern Medical Center Study – In comparison to other poor children who have never been homeless, there is increased risk for depression, anxiety, behavioral problems, and academic problems in homeless children. B. Women who are homeless during pregnancy usually do not have access to prenatal care, are often undernourished, and are often substance abusers – all of which leads to low birth weight babies with neurobehavioral problems predisposing them to lower academic achievement and behavioral issues at higher rates than children who are not homeless. C. Studies such as those carried out by the Health Care for the Homeless Clinician’s Network show that, for children who are homeless with their families, under stimulation by mothers preoccupied with survival concerns for themselves and their homeless children frequently results in developmental delays for children under five years of age. 1. Personal Anecdote – Experience of gunfire outside home 2 weeks ago kept me awake most of the night, afraid for my safety and that of my children. I was INSIDE the four walls of a home/sheltered. I can not imagine facing this on a daily basis – not feeling safe, focusing on staying survival above all else. I can understand...
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