172547 Access and barriers to health care services for homeless mothers: A case study in Hillsborough County, FL

Monday, October 27, 2008

Jaime Nodarse , College of Public Health, Community and Family Health and College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Applied Anthropology, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Background: While the United States spends more on health care per person than any other country, millions of Americans lack access to quality health care services. In part due to a lack of access to necessary health services, homeless mothers and their children are especially prone to experiencing negative health outcomes that often accompany life on the street. The National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) reports a steady rise in homelessness over the past 25 years and predicts this pattern will persist due to increased shortages of affordable housing and climbing poverty rates. Furthermore, homeless families are now the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in the United States. Policies and services, informed by homeless mothers' input, that ensure access to health care services for this population are essential to ending the perpetual cycle of homelessness many families face. Methods: Qualitative methodologies were employed to gain in-depth knowledge about the health issues concerning homeless mothers with children. Participant observation and semi-structured interviews with homeless mothers within a residential shelter program were used to explore resources available to families, to determine whether any barriers limit the use of these resources, and to identify ways to minimize existing barriers. Analysis: Interview audio data was analyzed for themes relating to health services available to homeless women. Notes taken during interviews were coded and analyzed with Atlas.ti in order to examine the health care resources available to homeless women with children and the barriers they face when accessing these resources.

Learning Objectives:
1. Examine health care services from the perspective of homeless mothers 2. Understand the barriers that limit access to health care services for homeless mothers in Hillsborough County, Florida 3. Identify the gaps in health care service provision as they apply to homeless mothers 4. Apply the above knowledge to create more effective policies and programs for homeless mothers and their children

Keywords: Homelessness, Access to Health Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the researcher responsible for designing and conducting this research project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.