• community;
  • mental health nursing;
  • nursing;
  • nursing intervention;
  • women

Aims and objectives

The aim of this research is to undertake a systematic review of the existing literature to determine effective physical and psychosocial interventions for homeless women.


Homelessness is an increasing problem worldwide. Homelessness results in considerable risk to the health and social and psychological well-being of those without permanent shelter. Community nurses require effective interventions to assist homeless women to improve their health; however, little is known about effective interventions for this unique group.


A search of several databases was conducted. Seven hundred and fifteen papers were initially identified, with only six studies meeting the inclusion criteria.


The methodologies included the following: randomised controlled trials (2), quasi-experimental (3) and a comparative study (1). Due to the diversity of the designs, measurement tools, interventions and outcomes of these studies, narrative synthesis was used to appraise their effectiveness. Study interventions such as structured education and support sessions (with and without advocates or support persons) and therapeutic communities reduced psychological distress and healthcare use, improved self-esteem, reduced drug and alcohol use within some limitations.


The aspects of the effective interventions could form the basis of community nursing programmes for our communities. Further research is required to ensure that homeless women and their children receive effective nursing interventions.

Revelance to clinical practice

Community nursing can develop and trial programmes for homeless women including content within group sessions, counselling or advocacy within or without a therapeutic community, as presented in this review.