alexa Abstract | NursesÂ’ attitudes towards people who are homeless: a literature review

Diversity & Equality in Health and Care
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Abstract

There is a well-established link between homelessness and poor health, so most nurses are likely to care for a homeless person at some point in their career. This literature review identifies and explores the attitudes of nurses and student nurses towards people who are homeless, and the subsequent impact that such attitudes may have on the quality of care. Although nurses are bound by professional codes of conduct to provide equality of care for all patients regardless of economic status, it is not known to what extent this is achieved with people who are homeless, or how nurses’ attitudes affect barriers to accessing care. Online bibliographic databaseswere searched systematically, includingCINAHL, ASSIA,  intute Health and Life Sciences, Cochrane, British Nursing Index, SCOPUS and NHS e-library, which incorporated Medline, Embase and PyscINFO. The search focused on nurse attitudes only. A systematic review of 242 abstracts and their references identified 10 articles for review. Content analysis was used to code relevant themes. The findings showed that negative and dehumanising attitudes towards people who are homeless exist among some nurses. Although some studies suggested that these negative attitudes resulted in poorerquality care being delivered, the results were inconclusive. However, negative attitudes acted as a barrier to accessing healthcare. There is limited evidence on which to base suggestions about ways to change nurses’ negative attitudes towards people who are homeless. Collaboration between nurses and other health and social care workers who provide services for people who are homeless is important. The small number of studies available reinforces the need for further research in this area.

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Author(s): Ruth Parkinson

 
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