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American Public Health Association
133rd Annual Meeting & Exposition
December 10-14, 2005
Philadelphia, PA
APHA 2005
4276.0: Tuesday, December 13, 2005 - Board 1

Abstract #104212

Health care needs of children in a domestic violence shelter: (a pilot study)

Stacey B. Plichta, ScD1, Teresa W. Babineau, MD2, and Erika Schukraft, MA1. (1) College of Health Sciences, Old Dominion University, 129 Spong Hall, Norfolk, VA 23529, 757 683-4989, splichta@odu.edu, (2) Eastern Virginia Medical School, Norfolk, VA 23529

This study examined the current medication status, acute and chronic health care needs of children seen by a family medicine MD while living in a domestic violence shelter. Women and children living in domestic violence shelters have a unique set of circumstances and needs. Health care needs of women in shelters is a growing area of research, as well is the health care needs of homeless people and their children, however there is a lack of available research pertaining to the specific needs of children that are, with their mothers, made homeless through domestic violence. 71 children were seen by a family medicine MD and residents who work in an urban shelter one day each month. Children were predominantly African American (76%) with an average age of 5.63 years. On average, it had been 5 months since their last visit to a doctor. 61.4% are reported to have some form of insurance or medical coverage. This study was approved by the Medical School IRB. In many ways, children in domestic violence shelters share characteristics with other children that are homeless. Literature surrounding the healthcare needs of homeless children reports that revenant health issues for this population are URI's and dermatological problems. Additionally incidence of trauma, developmental delays and chronic disease such as asthma and gastrointestinal problems are common among homeless children. These results confirm the similarities in the two, non mutually exclusive populations and indicate a need for further research in this area.

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