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A systematic review of interventions for homeless women

Authors

  • Vivienne Speirs RN, BN,

    Honours Graduate
    1. University of Western Sydney, Penrith South DC, NSW
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  • Maree Johnson MAppSci, PhD, RN,

    Research Professor and Director, Corresponding author
    1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, Penrith South DC, NSW
    2. Centre for Applied Nursing Research (venture between South-Western Sydney Local Health District and the University of Western Sydney), University of Western Sydney, Penrith South DC, NSW, Australia
    • University of Western Sydney, Penrith South DC, NSW
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  • Sansnee Jirojwong PhD, RN, MPH

    Senior Lecturer
    1. School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Western Sydney, Penrith South DC, NSW
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Correspondence: Maree Johnson, Research Professor, Director, Centre for Applied Nursing Research (Joint venture between South-Western Sydney Local Health District and the University of Western Sydney), Locked Bag 7103, Liverpool BC, NSW 1871, Australia. Telephone: +61 2 9612 0670.

E-mail: maree.johnson@sswahs.nsw.gov.au

Abstract

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.

Background

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.

Methods

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

Results

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.

Conclusions

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.

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