Online Program

Improving health access and health education for individuals and families in supportive housing

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 4:30 p.m. - 4:50 p.m.

Sue Coyle, PhD RN, School of Nursing, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Susan Pinto, RN, MSN, FNP-BC, School of Nursing, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Background and Issues: Supportive housing programs are designed to provide housing and services that will allow chronically homeless people to live as independently as possible. Assistance provided to participants focuses on residential stability, income, and self-determination. In limited research, health issues have been identified as barriers to self-sufficiency. Description: Based on this research evidence, faculty from a land-grant University School of Nursing developed an academic-community partnership with a local non-profit organization operating a supportive housing facility. Twice a month, a nurse practitioner works with interprofessional teams of students to conduct health assessments, provide health education, initiate referrals to community agencies, and identify needs for age-appropriate preventive screenings and immunizations. Outcomes and Lessons Learned: Original project plans had to be changed due to construction constraints so eliciting residents' participation in project design and implementation and gaining access to residents have been challenging. Eighteen individuals (10 men, 3 women, and 5 children) have been served through multiple home visits. Services included health assessment and education (16), blood pressure checks (8), referrals and follow-up (3), and immunizations (5). Health professions students need a significant amount of assistance to interact effectively with residents. Recommendations: Developing a home visiting program in a supportive housing facility requires a substantial investment of time to develop connections with residents. Comprehensive marketing of the program (including pictures of the project teams), use of communication aids (i.e., “sorry we missed you” notes), and the identification of at least one resident champion are strategies being employed to increase participation.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
Describe key elements of a nurse-practitioner led home visiting program designed to improve the health of individuals and families living in supportive housing. Identify 3 potential challenges to building an effective academic-community partnership.

Keyword(s): Access to Health Care, Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been a public health nursing educator for more than 20 years and have 5 years of experience working with families living in supportive housing. My interests include families living in poverty and the quality of life of low income mothers.
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.